Who remembers the days of their youth when Santa Claus delivered Christmas gifts, leprechauns appeared with pots of gold, and the Easter Bunny left mountains of chocolate to our little stomachs’ delight and our parents’ horror? While most of us have managed to outgrow the fun tales of our youth (although there’s always that one person), that hasn’t kept us from passing on the tradition to the next generation of believers. Queue the Tooth Fairy. In the United States, if there is one story that has children jumping into bed at lightning speed, aside from Christmas, it’s the Tooth Fairy. Now, where it gets interesting is how other countries choose to honor this time old custom. No one is quite sure where the origin story of the Tooth Fairy came from or how it became such a popular tradition, but many countries find their own ways to delight their children with stories of magic. Here are 7 countries with customs that are sure to give you a toothy smile.
- 1. UNITED STATES— Lose a tooth. Put it under your pillow. Poof! The next morning you wake up with a nice wad of cash (the going rate as of 2018 is $4.13). In exchange for your tooth, the Tooth Fairy leaves you a reward.
- 2. INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN, KOREA, AND VIETNAM—Upping the ante, children in many Asian countries toss their teeth around…literally. Instead of hiding their teeth under a pillow (because what a total snooze fest), a child tosses it onto their roof. If they lose a tooth from their upper jaw, its gets hidden beneath the floor. Just for extra measure, they’ll make a wish for, you guessed it, the tooth of a mouse to replace their missing one.
- 3. SPAIN, MEXICO, PERU, CHILE, ARGENTINA, COLOMBIA (AND OTHER SPANISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES)—Ratoncito Perez a.k.a Raton Perez a.k.a El Raton de Los Dientes is the mouse who collects teeth. While most of us would be panicked seeing a mouse running around the house, for many Spanish-speaking countries, Raton will leave a gift in exchange for your pearly whites. In Argentina, some kids really go the extra mile for Ratonand leave a glass of water to quench his thirst while on his teeth-collecting journey.
- 4. IRAQ, JORDAN, EGYPT (AND OTHER MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES)—Want your tooth to grow back? No problem! Kids are told to toss their teeth up toward the sky. This tradition dates to possibly the 13th
- 5. SOUTH AFRICA—Mind your step! Instead of hiding their teeth under their pillow, children will slide them into a pair of slippers.
- 6. FRANCE— There seems to be a theme with mice, teeth, and leaving gifts. France, like many of the Spanish-speaking countries, has their very own mouse: “La Bonne Petite Souris.” With the tooth tucked away with Petite Souris, he leaves behind a token of his appreciation in candy or cash.
- 7. MONGOLIA— Breaking from a tradition of gift-giving and magical beings collecting our baby teeth, Mongolians traditionally put teeth in fat and feed it to their dog (please don’t try this at home). This is because they want the child’s adult tooth to be as strong as dog teeth.
There you have it, folks! Seven Tooth Fairy traditions from around the world. The next time you want to be a little creative with your Tooth Fairy ways, remember: it’s never about the tradition…it’s about having fun!