Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians since October 2023 with bombings, shootings, and deliberate starvation. Additionally, the IDF has killed 234 aid workers and 95 journalists. This is the highest number of killings of aid workers and journalists ever recorded by a single country since global tracking began. One organization that is deliberately targeted by Israel is UNRWA, a UN agency established in 1949, which provides life-saving supplies and health care services to Palestinians in Gaza. 

In the last 6 months, the IDF has killed more than 165 UNRWA workers and bombed at least 150 UNRWA facilities. Israel also falsely accused the relief organization’s employees of terrorism, which caused at least 10 Western countries to immediately suspend their funding. Israel has never provided proof of its terror claims, and a massive international investigation concluded on April 22 there is no evidence of ties between UNRWA workers and terrorism

Despite overwhelming proof that Israel lied about UNRWA to decimate international funding and ensure its genocide of Palestinians destroys as many lives as possible, the United States still has not resumed funding.

Please consider giving to UNRWA to fight this devastating genocide, especially when our government will not.

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Baby’s First Laugh Ceremony: A Joyful Navajo Tradition of Celebrating Family


A Navajo baby during the First Laugh Party, giving gifts to family.

A Navajo baby falls asleep at their First Laugh Ceremony as a parent hands out symbolic gifts to family and friends in the child’s first act of generosity. (Source)


April 29, 2019 ~ By Shari Rose           

Updated September 13, 2020

The First Laugh Ceremony in Navajo tradition welcomes a new baby into the family with a large party that honors loved ones and the act of generosity

Navajo baby laughing as part of Navajo First Laugh Ceremony.

A Navajo baby smiles and laughs in photo. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When a baby laughs for the first time, it is no doubt an unforgettable moment for family and friends lucky enough to be present. A baby’s first laugh can be a joyful and even reassuring sign to parents and family that this child is healthy, happy and on the way to a full life. In the Navajo tradition, a baby’s first laugh demonstrates their readiness and willingness to fully join their families in life and love.

Cultures around the world mark this milestone in different ways, sometimes with ceremonies, blessings, or parties. The Navajo people celebrate a baby’s first laugh with a special family party, called a First Laugh Ceremony (A’wee Chi’deedloh). In tradition, it is believed that the first time a Navajo baby laughs, the child is transcending their spiritual existence and is ready to live with their family in the physical world.

To properly celebrate this joyful and sacred occasion, the baby’s family invites loved ones from near and far to host a traditional Navajo First Laugh Ceremony at the home.

What A Baby’s First Laugh Signifies In Navajo Tradition

The Navajo, or Diné, believe that newborn babies first reside in the world of the Diyin Dine’e, the Holy People, before they can join their earthly families. The Diyin Dine’e are the first people, subjects of the most important myths and stories in Navajo culture. When a baby is first born, the Navajo believe the child lives among the Holy People, until the first time the baby laughs.  The act of laughing is a sign the child is transitioning from the spirit world with the Diyin Dine’e and is ready to fully join his or her family in life. 

Navajo mother and her baby in a traditional papoose.

A mother carries her baby on her back in a traditional papoose. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Because of the significance that a baby’s first laugh holds in Navajo tradition, family members watch, wait and listen intently to hear that first utterance of a giggle. Parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents and just about anyone who is close to the family will try their best to get that first laugh, from silly faces to tickles and everything in between. And finally, the first time a baby laughs, it’s time to celebrate the journey to their earthly family and welcome this new life into the community with a Navajo First Laugh Ceremony! 

What Happens During A Traditional Navajo First Laugh Ceremony 

The lucky family member or friend who caused that little baby to laugh for the first time plays a very special role in the party. He or she is honored as the organizer of A’wee Chi’deedloh, the First Laugh Ceremony, where extended family and friends from all over are invited to the home to fully welcome this new life and honor his or her new family. The act of laughing has spiritual meaning in Navajo tradition. Laughing is a major step in fully understanding the meaning of k’é (kinship) among one’s own people. So, when a baby laughs for the first time, they are telling loved ones that they, too, want to love and be loved. 

The Navajo’s First Laugh Ceremony is usually held within a week or so of the first time a baby laughs. The baby’s parents and the family member, friend or neighbor who inspired the child’s first laugh start planning for the party immediately, preparing food, inviting family and friends, and crafting gift bags for each guest.

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During a Navajo First Laugh Ceremony, the baby is considered the host. With the help of his or her parents, the baby ceremonially gives each guest a plate of food, rock salt and a gift bag of goodies, as tradition holds. The Navajo place great value on generosity as a virtue, and this first act of generosity during a First Laugh Party teaches this important lesson early. In addition, by presenting a meal and small gifts to all those who attended, the baby symbolically pays respect to his or her family, both in the physical and spiritual worlds. 

Like other cultures throughout the world, the Navajo celebrate a baby’s first laugh as a deeply meaningful sign in the child’s life. The act of passing through the spirit world where the Diyin Dine’e, the Holy People, reside, and into the physical world to be with one’s family and larger community is a sacred and jubilant event. The Navajo First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration of life, family, and above all, love. Welcome, baby!

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Shari Rose

Shari Rose

Owner of Blurred Bylines💖💜💙

I created Blurred Bylines in an effort to bring stories from marginalized perspectives into the national conversation. As a former copy editor at the largest newspapers in Arizona and Colorado, I’ve seen first-hand the potential of accurate and accessible information to change minds and affect national policy. 

My stories focus on individuals fighting for justice and their own rights as Americans, survivors of violent crime who rebuilt their lives after tragedy, shifting political trends that seek to strip the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups of their freedoms, and forgotten figures in U.S. history whose fights for equality persist today.

Through writing these articles, I stumbled upon the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to attract interested audiences to my writing. In addition to the ad-free and paywall-free stories I write at Blurred Bylines, I also perform SEO services for businesses, nonprofits, and fellow freelancers around the country so they can grow their organizations through search engines. 

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