Why Is A Baby Shower Called A Baby Shower

why is a baby shower called a baby shower

Why is a Baby Shower Called a Baby Shower?

A baby shower is a traditional, celebratory gathering held in honor of a new life that is either due to arrive, or has recently made its appearance in the world. A baby shower celebrates the anticipation of the child’s arrival with games, fellowship, food, drinks, and gifts for the parents, baby, and friends and family in attendance. But why does all of this fun and festive gathering get referred to as a “baby shower”? We’re going to take a look at why people call a baby shower, well, a baby shower.

Origin of the Term

The phrase “baby shower” is a relatively new one in the English language, dating back only a couple of centuries. In fact, the oldest known use of the term can be traced back as far as 1876, when it was used in a novel written by Isabella Alden, titled “Say and Seal”: “She was ready for the ‘baby shower’ which was to come off in the evening.”

No one is quite sure of the exact origin of the term “baby shower” or where it actually originated. Some suggest that it may be borrowed from the phrase “shower of gifts,” which was already established in the English language at the time the phrase first appeared in print. Others believe that the term may have originated as an Americanized version of “baby-showering,” which was already a popular phrase in French culture in the mid-1800s.

Evolution of the Celebration

No matter where the term “baby shower” may have come from, the celebration of a new baby has been a tradition for thousands of years. While the celebrations may have taken different forms in different cultures throughout the ages, the world over the spirit of the celebration has remained the same: to celebrate the new life with friends and family and to shower the baby with gifts and love.

In historical cultures, these celebrations often involved rituals and symbols intended to bring good fortune and health to the new baby. For example, ancient Egyptian families celebrated their new arrival with the giving of honey and beer, both considered symbols of success and fertility. In Ancient Rome, families held celebratory dinners and receptions, while in Japan, families celebrated the “nagashi-somon” ceremony in which small boats carrying gifts for the new baby were released down a river.

Modern Baby Showers

While these ancient ceremonies were certainly festive in nature, the modern-day baby shower is something different. What differentiates the modern baby shower from its ancient counterparts is the presence of games, gifts, and decorations meant to honor the new family and to welcome the baby into its new home–all in a setting that is different from a traditional religious gathering or ceremony.

The modern baby shower shares many similarities with the traditional gatherings of old, with its focus on celebrating the new life and providing gifts for the baby. What makes modern baby showers stand apart is that the celebration usually centers around the expecting parents instead of the baby, thereby creating an atmosphere of fun and anticipation as everyone gathers to celebrate the impending arrival of the new baby.


Whether you’re throwing a traditional, gender reveal, or virtual baby shower, the underlying goal of the celebration remains the same: to herald the arrival of the new life with joy and excitement. Plus, you can rest assured knowing that you’re participating in a very old tradition that carries with it a special meaning regardless of its name: a baby shower. So, why is a baby shower called a baby shower? Whether you look to Isabella Alden’s novel for the answer or to the long-honored tradition of celebrating the new life, the answer is the same: because that’s what it is!

No matter your culture, no matter your traditions, a baby shower is always a joyful, celebratory gathering that is a time-honored way of welcoming a new life into the world. And the celebration deserves a special name, just like the special little one it is meant to honor. So why is a baby shower called a baby shower? Because that’s the name of the celebration that honors the new life and the people who will help to shape it. Why is a baby shower called a baby shower? Because that’s the name of a very special time that should be celebrated by all.