The tooth fairy is widely accepted as a parenting standard in the UK.
In a recent study it was found that the average payment left by “the fairy” is £2.10, a 60p rise on 5 years ago. Whilst just under 10 % received £10 – £200 for a full set of milk teeth. However, not all countries use the story of the fairy when it comes to disposing of their little ones’ teeth.
Spain has the story of Ratocinto Perez, otherwise known as Perez the mouse. The tooth is again, left under the pillow. And the mouse will replace it with some kind of gift, not necessarily money. In Argentina some children leave their teeth in a glass of water. The mouse is said to be so parched from his rounds that he drinks the water and leaves a gift in the empty glass.
South Africans don’t put their teeth under a pillow, the actually place them in slippers.
Australia, America and Canada are among some of the countries that follow in our footsteps with the tooth fairy myth (ahem,perfectly believable true story if you are under 11 and still reading this.) Ireland has a tooth fairy, but it is known as “Annabogle” whereas scotland has a white fairy rat!
France also has a teeth collecting mouse, known as “La Bonne Petite Souris.” The little blighter replaces teeth with money or sweets (nice cavity promoting sweets, oh the irony!).
In Mongolia, and throughout Central America their tradition is far removed from ours. It is common to put the teeth in some fat and feed it to a dog. This is done in the hope that the adult teeth will be as hardy as Dogs. Another option is to bury the tooth beside a tree so that the new teeth have strong roots.
In Korea, China and India, instead of placing the teeth in a safe place some children like to throw their teeth away. Teeth from the bottom of the mouth are thrown onto the roof and those from the top on the floor or under the carpet. The children are taught to believe that the new tooth coming through the gum will be pulled towards the old tooth. They sometimes yell out that they wish their teeth would be replaced by those of a mouse. Not such a stupid request as mice have teeth that continuously grow!
In Jamaica children actually want to keep the mythical beasties away instead of trying to attract them. A large amount of Jamaican traditions involves rituals to keep away evil spirits known as “duppies”. The children must take the tooth, put it in a tin can and shake it hard to stop a duppie known as the “rolling calf” from taking themselves and the tooth.
So the tooth fairy isn’t alone in her endeavours. Are there any we have missed?