Birthmark  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A birthmark is a benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin.

The exact cause of most birthmarks is unknown, but vascular birthmarks are not hereditary.

Folklore

Birthmarks are called voglie in Italian, antojos in Spanish, and wiham in Arabic; all of which translate to "wishes" because, according to folklore, they are caused by unsatisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant woman does not satisfy a sudden wish or craving for strawberries, it's said that the infant might bear a strawberry mark.

In Dutch, birthmarks are called moedervlekken, in Danish modermærke and in German Muttermal (mother-spots) because it was thought that an infant inherited the marks solely from the mother. The Hungarian word for any flat mole (as opposed to only congenital birthmarks), anyajegy, is also derived from this belief.

Some myths associated with birthmarks are that they are caused when an expectant mother sees something strange, or experiences a great deal of fear, sometimes called a maternal impression.

In Iranian folklore, a birthmark appears when the pregnant mother touches a part of her body during a solar eclipse.

According to American folklore, birth marks sometimes indicate the site of traumatic injuries in a past life.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Birthmark" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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