Parents Are Sending Bags of Rice to Relatives for Them to Hug Instead of Their Baby

As a relative of a parent who just welcomed their baby into the world, it’s natural to expressly want to visit and hold the newborn. Unfortunately, this is one of the simple joys that are now discouraged amid the ongoing pandemic. But Japanese parents just thought of a solution to this and it involves sending over bags of rice that weigh almost the same as their babies and — get this — have a picture of their babies’ faces printed onto them.

Dakigokochi baby rice bags japan the guardianPhoto from The Guardian

Called “Dakigokochi,” this trend helps relatives deal with the effects of social distancing by replicating the feeling of holding the family’s new bundle of joy. Bags reportedly come in a variety of designs, the most common of which is the one shaped like an infant swaddled in a blanket.

“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,” said Naruo Ono, the owner of Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop that sells these infant rice bags, according to The Guardian.

Dakigokochi is also often seen during weddings where the bride and groom give rice bags with their baby photo printed on them to their parents as a show of gratitude for bringing them into this world.

Though it’s not a new phenomenon in Japan, demand for it has increased significantly due to people being unable to attend wedding ceremonies or visit families.

Dakigokochi baby rice bags japanPhoto from The Guardian

(ALSO READ: LOOK: These Newborn Babies were Given Mini Face Shields for Protection Against COVID-19)

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