Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families have spent months apart. Many people went a year or longer without getting to see or hug the people they love most, and it took a noticeable toll on the world.
Social interaction is part of being human, and most of us have been deprived of that the past year or so. It’s been especially challenging for new families who are navigating parenthood for the first alone.
For relatives of those families, they’re missing out on getting to meet the new babies and get all of the baby hugs and snuggles.
Families in Japan have come up with a creative way to make up for the distance by sending rice bags for relatives to hug in place of the new babies.
The Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop is offering customizable rice bags with the birth weight of a newborn. Parents can send the bags of rice to relatives so they can “hold” the baby in spirit.
The shop’s owner, Ono, told The Guardian:
“I first had the idea about 14 years ago when my own son was born and I was thinking about what I could do for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him. So we decided to make bags of rice that were the same weight and shape as the baby, so relatives could hold them and feel the cuteness.”
When the pandemic broke out around the world, more and more people were looking for unique ways to connect with those they loved and some began turning to rice babies.
Families can even customize the bags to have a photo of their newborn, in addition to the birthweight.