The tooth fairy has an interesting history. Unlike Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, her original roots remain a mystery.
As National Tooth Fairy Day approaches, a date celebrated on February 28th, we have decided to look back at how this fairy made a name for herself!
Different cultures embraced traditions that included fairies. Although none refer to the tooth fairy herself, each custom bares similarities. During the 19th century, Italian and French children received a small gift while they slept for the loss of a tooth. In England, fairy coins were given to sleeping peasant girls. In Ireland, fairy changeling took place; a term that refers to the kidnapping of a child during the night- and is switched for a fairy! This interesting occurrence could be avoided if you buried a baby tooth nearby.
Taking to the Stage
It was also common to see tales of fairies, magic, and teeth in entertainment. “La Bonne Petite Souris,” or “The Good Little Mouse,” tells a tale of a fairy disguised as a mouse that aides a queen’s escape from her terrible husband, the king, by removing his teeth! The tales popularity sparked several other tooth fairy appearances throughout the 20th century:
- 1920’s: “La Bonne Petite Souris” is released in English.
- 1949: Collier’s magazine publishes a story about the Tooth Fairy.
- 1950’s: American families are prosperous and adopt a child-centric view of home life.
- 1950: The Fairy Godmother from Disney’s Cinderella is a widely popular character.
- 1953: Disney’s Peter Pan is released, and Tinkerbell is universally loved by America.
- 1979: The Tooth Fairy is cited in The World Book Encyclopedia.
Adjusting her Rates for Inflation
The tooth fairy’s popularity continues to grow in America. It is believed that the tooth fairy provided 15 cents per tooth; although today, children receive an average of $3.70 per tooth!