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Caring for Loved Ones

Covid-19 sign

An instruction poster showing how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

From birth to death, acts of protecting loved ones are often celebrations of community and the lives of others. Significant life events, such as weddings or funerals, are often accompanied by traditions that convey protection and promote the happiness, safety and health of those we care about.

Transitioning into adulthood, for example through marriage and starting your own family, is often accompanied by items of protection. Rituals of protection surrounding birth have focused on fertility, children and their mothers, whilst blessings for marriages may include wishes for long, happy and fulfilled lives together.

The end of life is also accompanied by comforting rituals for friends and relatives. These can attend to the body as well as the soul’s journey to, and wellbeing in, the afterlife.

The communal nature of these rituals leads to them varying widely between countries, villages and even families. Every group develops their own traditions. Are there any traditions which are significant to your community?


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Pears soap
1807 - present

Washing our hands with soap is important to avoid getting sick and spreading infections to those we care for. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to several public safety videos that demonstrate how to wash our hands properly and for how long. The song ‘Happy Birthday’ will never seem the same again.

Bes amulet

Bes Amulet
1900-1100 BC

Bes, a dwarf Egyptian deity, was worshipped as a protector of households, particularly of mothers, children and childbirth. Ugliness was believed to deter evil spirits, so Bes is usually depicted in a grotesque style. He was later regarded as defender of all good and enemy of all evil.