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(ko͞oväd`), imitation by the father of many of the concomitants of childbirth, at the time of his wife's parturition. The father may retire into seclusion as well as observe various taboos and restrictions. One explanation for this custom is that the father and mother of a newborn both have to be cautious and avoid foods and activities that might, through supernatural means, bring harm to themselves or the child. Another explanation contends that the father simulates the wife's activities in order to focus evil spirits on him rather than her. A third reasoning is that the father asserts his paternity by appearing to take part in the delivery. Indigenous South Americans (see Natives, South AmericanNatives, South American,
aboriginal peoples of South America. In the land mass extending from the Isthmus of Panama to Tierra del Fuego, Native American civilizations developed long before the coming of the European.
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), such as those of the Guianas, the Caribs, the Arawakan Guayapé, and the Northwestern and Central Gê of E Brazil, believe that the child has a stronger supernatural bond with the father than with the mother and use the couvade to reinforce this bond. In extreme forms of couvade, the man may mimic the pain and process of childbirth and expect his wife to wait on him in the following days. The practice has been noted since antiquity, in such widely dispersed places as Africa, China, Japan, India, among native populations of North and South America, and among the Basques of France and Spain.



the customs and rituals of childbirth creating the illusion that the father rather than the mother is giving birth to the child. Thus, the father pretends to be ill, adheres to a diet, groans, sometimes dresses in women's clothes, and later accepts congratulations and cares for the infant while the mother returns to work immediately after giving birth. There is evidence that the custom of couvade existed among the ancient Celts, Thracians, Scythians, and many tribes of America, Asia, and Oceania. Most Soviet ethnologists regard the custom as a reflection of the transition from a matrilineal to a patrilineal society, although some interpret it as a sign of the transition from group to paired marriage. Couvade also includes elements of magical aid for the woman in labor and of concern for the child.


Khazanov, A. M. “Zagadochnaia kuvada.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1968, no. 3.
References in periodicals archive ?
I later learned frommy grandmother that this phenomenon is known as couvade, and is a kind of telepathic connection between partners.
Duas formas do ritual couvade tem sido relatadas (Bogren, 1983; Haynal, 1977) a couvade pre-natal e a pos-natal.
El impacto se da en aumento de la fecundidad, y, no continuar con la couvade puede afectar la sobrevivencia de los ninos como un todo.
En el caso 1 se define la existencia de fenomeno de couvade o covada, donde existen "respuestas fisicas y psicologicas mimeticas del embarazo que experimentan algunos hombres durante la gestacion de su companera" (25).
Doctors and researchers say the best way to deal with Couvade syndrome is to understand that it does exist and that it is a basic human reaction to the pregnancy.
Couvade Syndrome, in which a man mimics his wife's birth pangs and takes the credit for producing the child, precisely describes the process, and the reason for it.
Norris did some research into Curly's strange illness and decided he was suffering from Couvade Syndrome - phantom pregnancy symptoms.
The kumbessias or accommodations for pilgrims at novena festivals represent, in his opinion, a survival of the primitive custom of the couvade (233).
Like the couvade, like ritual scarrings that symbolize menstruation in men, like pederastic rites that initiate boys into manhood and employ procreative imagery, Diotima gives witness to "the determination of men to acquire the powers they ascribe (whether correctly or incorrectly) to women," which Halperin calls "a remarkably persistent and widespread feature of male culture.
The first of a Carib trilogy entitled The Sleepers of Roraima, "Couvade" is based on the vestiges of a Carib myth and we are told in the author's note: "The purpose of Couvade was to hand on the legacy of the tribe--courage and fasting--to every newborn child.
13) Qeste rappresentazioni costituiscono una ripresa in chiave comica di materiali rituali e narrativi folklorici ed etnologici, quali i racconti del "padre allattante" e del mito della couvade, di cui ripetono, nelle forme consentite dalla cultura del tempo, alcuni significati.
The most elaborate instance is his diagnosis of Leontes' couvade syndrome, an affliction of fathers-to-be.