Residence: Shanghai, China
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/20/13
Primary Language: Chinese
Other Language(s): English
Informant: “This is how you do it. Take a pin, needle, or wedding ring and attach it to a thread. Then you hold the dangling item over mom to be’s belly while she is lying down. If the needle or wedding ring swings in a circular motion, you will be having a girl. If it moves in a to and fro motion like a pendulum, you will be having a boy.”
Me: “Did you try it?”
Informant: “I did and it worked for me! But it’s just an old wives tale.”
Analysis: This is a very common thing to do when one is eager to know the gender of one’s baby. It was thought to originate in Italy, except instead of a wedding ring, they used needles on threads. Due to female roles back in time, needles and threads were more common in an expecting woman’s life than nowadays. Using the wedding ring as opposed to the thread was thought to originate in Ireland.
Pregnancy is one of those exciting events, and the gender prediction always arouses the curiosity of others. There are several “old wives tales” on predicting the gender of a baby, however some of them contradict each other. According to testimonials online, people will often end up with an even split of results -50% of the tests will predict a boy, and 50% will predict a girl. This suggests that there is little truth or evidence to support the effectiveness of the tests, which may be why the informant was skeptical to believe in it despite the fact that it worked for her.