Folk belief about changing teeth.


“When Children lose their teeth, they should throw the teeth up if they lose their lower teeth, and throw the teeth downward if they lose their upper teeth. This helps the child grow their teeth quicker.”


Mr. B is my friend in China. This is a part of his personal experience. His grandparents told him this piece of folk belief.


This is a folk belief of magic that exemplifies the wish for the fast growth of children’s teeth. There is a lot of similar folk belief that involves such movement in a direction correlated with one’s growth. One example is that if a kid jumps a lot, he would grow very tall. Also, the physical movements of objects seem to have a lot of symbolic meaning in folk beliefs.

In regard to Frazer’s principles of sympathetic magic, this teeth-throwing magic fits in the categorization of both contagious and homeopathic magic. It is contagious that the teeth are a part of the body of the action. Although the new teeth have nothing to do with the old teeth, throwing the old teeth higher seems to have a magic force that will help the new teeth grow faster. On the other hand, it is homeopathic because throwing downward or upward is similar to growing teeth downward or upward. The differences are that one is by nature, the other by force, and one is new and one is old.