Every Mongolian baby is born with a blue birthmark on their back and it is known as the Mongolian spot worldwide. The Mongols has worshiped the eternal blue sky from ancient times and considered this birthmark as a heavenly seal for Mongolians only.
Mongolian spot or congenital dermal melanocytosis is a benign, flat, congenital and irregular-shaped birthmark with wavy borders. Infants are born with one or more Mongolian spots, ranging from a small area on the buttocks to a larger area on the back.
The spot normally disappears three to five years after the birth and clears by puberty. Common color is blue, but sometimes it can found as blue-gray, blue-black or deep brown. In fact, pigmented birthmarks are associated with health risks, but Mongolian blue spots are certainly not.
Scientists have found that the Mongolian spot appeared when melanocytes (cells that produce pigment or melanin) remained in the deeper skin layer during embryonic development. However, the causes of such spots are still not figured out in medicine.
And this is one of the mysteries of the Mongolian spot…
According to “The Amazing Language of Medicine: Understanding Medical Terms and Their Backstories“, the term was actually coined by German anthropologist Erwin Baltz. During 1880’s, he was serving as a physician to Emperor Meiji and the Imperial households, while living in Japan with his Japanese wife and two children.
When he noticed that the mysteries spots were on the babies of his care, he decided to name it as “Mongolian Spots”, referring to a now-outdated research on race. It classified the Asians as “Mongoloids”, popularized by Johann Blumenbach, a German physician, naturalist, physiologist and anthropologist.
Erwin Baltz presented his research findings in Berlin in 1901, and from that point on, his name began associated with certain skin cells that contain pigment.
Hans Egede Saabye, a Danish priest and botanist, spent a period from 1770 to 1778 in Greenland among native Inuit people. Containing with much ethnographic information, his diaries were published in 1816 and translated into several European languages. Firstly, he described the blue spot on newborns, claiming that he had seen it often when the Inuit infants were presented naked for baptism.
Hans Edege (1686-1758)
Another Danish observer, Daniel Frederik Eschricht who was a doctor and zoologist based in Copenhagen wrote about the “mixed” babies whom he had delivered at the lying-in hospital in 1849. He also, says that the observation made for the first time by Saabye about the Inuit children was completely confirmed by Captain Holboll, who sent him a fetus pickled in alcohol.
This birthmark is prevalent not only among Mongolians, but also among the East, South, Southeast, North and Central Asian people, Indigenous Oceanians (chiefly Micronesians and Polynesians), certain populations in Africa, Amerindians, non-European Latin American, Caribbean mixed-race descendants, and Turkish people.
While the blue spot is found in almost 95 percent of Mongolians, other Asians especially Korean, Japanese and Chinese people are observed with blue spots about 50-80% of their population.
According to a study performed in various hospitals in Mexico City, 51.8% of Mexican newborns presented the Mongolian spot on average. Also, the Mexican Social Security Institute confirms that almost the half of Mexican babies have the Mongolian spot. Central American indigenous children were subjected to racism due to their Mongolian spots, but progressive circles began to make the Mongolian spot popular after the late 1960’s.
The blue spot also appears on 5–10% of Caucasian descendants. Among Europeans, it is almost absent that only 1-10% of the population counted for. But the interesting fact is Hungarians, whom it reaches 22.6% of the population.
Perhaps, it can be explained by the invasions of the Huns, the ancestors of the Mongols to Europe roughly between 376-476 CE. In the Middle Ages, Hungary was called the kingdom of the Huns, as it is mentioned in the German heroic epic “The Song of the Nibelungs” written by an anonymous poet at the beginning of the XIII century.
It is known that this birthmark is mostly found in Central Asia, namely in Mongolia. Then why the Mongolian spot is spread among the Indians of North and South America?
According to the latest research, the first wave of settlers came to American continent from Siberia and Central Asia through the Bering Strait, not earlier than 23 thousand years ago at the height of the last Ice Age. It may explain the presence of the Mongolian spot in most of the babies of the natives of America.
Then, how can we explain the presence of this birthmark in newborns of some African peoples, such as Ethiopians or of full Caucasian descents? One can only speculate and make guesses…
In any case, the most of the people who have this phenomenon, consider this blue spot to be a good sign and a symbol of the blessing of higher powers.
Folks long believed that the slap “for happiness” was made by the divine hand, or someone from great and glorious ancestors did it.
Some cultures believe that the blue spot is left from the divine place where the baby was prodded or slapped by a spirit to leave “pre-life” and be born, while others say it’s a sign of royalty.
Mongolians, from ancient times, believed that they were patronized by heavenly powers. Therefore, on the seal of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire was the inscription “By the will of the eternal sky”. And Mongolians understood the birth of children with a blue spot as the patronage of the heavens over their descendants.
Guyuk khan’s Stamp 1246.
Korean mythology explains the spot as a bruise formed when Samshin Halmi, a shaman spirit, to whom people pray around childbirth, slapped the baby’s back to hasten him born from his or her mother’s womb.
The mark is also common among Maya people of the Yucatan Peninsula, where it is referred to Wa in Maya, which means the “circle of heaven”.
According to the Kyrgyz belief, the goddess Umai-Ene plucks the child for the tailbone, thereby clarifies that he is considered to be protected from evil and guaranteed for life-time.
The Uighurs name the blue spot as the mark of Tengri, the sky deity who also blesses the newborn. Number of other Turkic people believe that the deities Tengri or Umai-ene help the child to take the first breath, slap him on the buttocks with their own hands. This role is played by the goddess Aiyysyt among Siberian Yakuts,.
The origin of the Mongolian spot is not yet been clarified, therefore, some fantastic explanations of this phenomenon should appear. For example: a researcher from Kazakhstan, Adil Korzabayev, believes that the “Mongolian spot” arose as a result of crossing humans with some alien race.
For the first time, he says that the version about the alien trail was told to him by a professional dermatologist, who said that the Mongolian spot is caused by a substance similar to melanin, but with a completely different chemical structure that is responsible for the blue color of the skin. Melanin is black, provided that it has the ability to absorb ultraviolet rays and to protect the epidermis. But aliens have it blue. According to Adil Korzabayev, the Mongolian spot is the most important proof that once aliens left their blood in humans.