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Fun Facts for Kids – Tooth Fairy Traditions from Around the World

August 27th, 2015
tooth fairy traditions title card

We all know how the tooth fairy works, right? When you lose a tooth, you put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy leaves money in exchange for the tooth. Well… that’s not always the case, depending on where you were born.

Spain

In Spain and some Hispanic American countries, the Ratoncito Pérez (or Ratón Pérez), exchanges gifts for baby teeth left under pillows. He is called “Ratoncito Pérez” in Spanish-speaking countries, “el Ratón de los Dientes” (the Tooth Mouse) in regions of Mexico, Chile and Peru, and “El Ratón Pérez” in Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Colombia.

The character of Ratoncito Pérez was created in 1894 by the Spanish author Luis Coloma for King Alfonso XIII after he lost a tooth at the age of 8. Coloma wrote the story of a mouse that lived in a box of cookies and visited children when they lost their teeth, including his adventures with the king himself.

Since then, this “Tooth Mouse” has been a popular fixture in Spanish culture and folklore, even appearing in commercials and movies!

France

The French have a similar story to that of Spain with “La Bonne Petite Souris” (The Good Little Mouse) crawling under pillows and exchanging lost teeth for cash or candy.

Japan, India, China, Vietnam, and Korea

Many countries in Asia including Japan, India, China, Korea, and Vietnam don’t have a tooth fairy tradition. Instead, when kids lose their baby teeth they throw their teeth on the roof! Who wants to stick their tooth under a boring old pillow anyway?

Traditionally, kids will throw their lower teeth on the roof and throw their upper teeth on the floor. The logic here is that the new tooth will be pulled towards the old tooth.

Sometimes when they throw their teeth children shout out that they hope their missing tooth will be replaced by the tooth of a mouse! This is because mice (and other rodents) have teeth that continually grow.

Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan

Children in the Middle East also have a tradition of throwing their teeth. When they lose a baby tooth they throw it up into the sky towards the sun. This tradition dates back to at least the 13th century. That’s a lot of teeth in the air!

Do you know any other strange tooth fairy traditions from around the world?

 

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