Shell of Protection Tradition / Ritual in Etrea | World Anvil

Shell of Protection

WIP - Summer Camp 2023

A common tradition amongst the northwestern coastal fishing villages of Eshua, the shell of protection was, until recently, seen as an essential charm of protection for newborn children. It is believed that placing a seashell in the crib with the baby will protect them from harm for the first few months of life. In some villages, this method particularly protects against abduction by merfolk, whilst in others it is a protection against general harm and illness. The type of shell required differs from village to village as well, with some believing that a particular type of shell has to be found during pregnancy, whilst others believe that any seashell will do, and that even reusing seashells from other children is okay. One thing that everyone can agree on is that using a shell from a land snail is definitely not okay.   The practice has begun to fall out of favour in recent years, as education has become more available in rural areas. There has also been an initiative in the past few years for city healers to visit more rural areas to try to lower the rate of infant and child mortality, through education of safer practices and hygiene. People have been advised that putting small objects in the crib with their young baby is a choking hazard and, instead of protection, it may actually lead to harm.   Some healers have also tried to point out that merfolk do not abduct babies and, whilst no one has been able to give an example of this actually happening, people are reluctant to let go of that belief. This idea most likely comes from historically poor relations between the people of Eshua and the merfolk who live along the coastline, especially in regards to fishing.   It seems likely that this superstition will fall out of favour within the next generation or so.

Cover image: by Javardh


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Aug 20, 2023 13:18 by Rachel Bentz

This such a lovely tradition! The desire to protect newborns is prominent with many young couples and communities. I could see a newborn child being gifted a seashell at birth, long after the 'tradition' of it being for their health and safety fades away. Do they keep the seashells as they grow up? Are Seashells passed down through family lines? What happens when someone gets a magic seashell?

May the Creator ever guide your Footsteps
Aug 21, 2023 11:02 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! :) I like to think that they are kept in a lot of cases, and definitely some would be passed down. Depends on what they believe, really - some people are insistent on a new shell for each kid!   Seashells aren't inherently magical, but I'm sure some people believe they are!   Thank you for the comment <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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