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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Global Travels of the Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy clip art by Lita Lita
Yowzers! My little Mag just lost her first tooth! Somehow I felt more prepared for her to go off to school than I felt for her to lose her first tooth.

Sure, Mag was all excited at the prospect of the Tooth Fairy (which we didn't necessarily intend to introduce, but pop culture and school made that decision for us)... but me?

You probably guessed it: my first thought was, "Hmm, wouldn't it be fun to hear how this is handled in other countries." So I asked a few blogofriends.

British expat Amanda at Expat Life With a Double Buggy shares that she was able maximize the legend by convincing her son that the Tooth Fairy doesn't enter messy rooms. Genius! Now living in the Netherlands, Amanda notes that the "Tandenfee" does exist, but "is not a universally Dutch phenomenon. Some use it, some don't."

A Bilingual Baby's Marta notes that in Spain, as in many countries, "it's not a fairy, but a little mouse. It's called el ratoncito Pérez." Apparently, in Mexico this little magic mouse leaves extra money for a front tooth.

Ute of Expat Since Birth says that, "In German speaking countries we also know the Zahnfee, but she comes from the American/UK tooth fairy. In Italy the 'fatina dei denti' does the same as in USA/UK."

Spanglish-House's Cecy has combined traditions, so her kids think that Tooth Fairy and Ratón Pérez are associated. Her eldest has developed his own tradition: leaving a tip to encourage them to come early. Wonder how the tooth characters divide the spoils?

Would you prefer to avoid the Tooth Fairy tradition in your household? Never fear, there are parts of the world that are free of all tooth-taking characters. Olena (Bilingual Kids Rock), Olga (The European Mama), and Natalie (After School for Smarty Pants) report that there is no such legend in Ukraine, Poland, Russia, or Belarus.

But if you have, by choice or by force, embraced some version of a tooth character tradition in your household, and would enjoy the chance to make it a multicultural event, Mari has some super cute Tooth Fairy Receipt printables, in several languages - yay! These are available at Inspired By Familia. Thanks for sharing, Mari!

Want to read about more tooth-loss traditions from around the world?

Kid World Citizen's Becky recommended a book that is now a family fave around here: Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World.
This book is a must read for families who embrace the world. What a fun way to find out:
  • What country has a Rolling Calf who will take you away with your tooth if you're not careful? 
  • Which moms plate the tooth with silver and make it into a charm? 
  • Who asks the moon, a mouse, or a saint to replace their tooth? 
  • Which country has parents burying their children's teeth in university gardens?

Don't you just love how a single tooth can take you on a world tour?! Thanks, Global Moms, for all the info.
Any other great teeth legends out there?

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop


  1. This is so cute! Here's a little something about the tooth fairy in France! http://www.busyasabeeinparis.com/2010/03/tooth-fairy-in-france-is-mouse_24.html#.UmUb3fmcd8E

    1. Thanks for sharing your link, Maria. So interesting to learn how the tooth loss phenomena transcends culture, and super love how your mouse fairy wrapped the coins. Heehee.

  2. Love the different traditions! If you watch Rise of the Guardians (one of Chiquita's favorites) el Raton Perez makes a little cameo appearance as the "European Division" that had me laughing. Chiquita is only 3 but already excited about losing her baby teeth and I don't think any cute mice will make her give up the tooth fairy. Thanks for sharing at Creative Kids Cultural Blog Hop!

  3. Brilliant post! I love these around the world trips! And I will have to remember Amanda's suggestion about the messy room, haha! Going to check out the recommended book as well. Thanks for sharing at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!