|
|
|
ancient art
|
|
|
focus
characters
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
horoscope matching
|
|
|
Shopping
 
Custom
New Born Baby

Before the child's birth there are no celebrations or showers, a practice which dates back to the days when many children died within a few days of birth. Even today a conservative Chinese woman will try to conceal her pregnancy for as long as possible, lest evil spirits discover an impending birth and kill the child. She will think good thoughts, avoid funerals. The unborn child may be given a false, "milk" name to confuse or scare away spirits that might mean it harm. To protect the newborn child, the umbilical cord may be wrapped in red paper and hidden somewhere in the household. The mother and child will also be sequestered for the first month of the child's life (zuoyuezi), during which time she is excused from all usual household duties. In conservative households, even the husband may stay away.

To announce the baby's birth, a new father will give presents of red-dyed eggs to friends and family, an odd number for a boy, even for a girl; as well as money and wine to his wife's family. The ribbons tied on the wine jar also indicate the gender. Some fathers choose to send out boxes of fruit instead. If you receive such a gift, it is appropriate to send the family gifts of walnut meats, brown sugar, or special cakes made for the purpose; and any money may be honourably returned as a gift.

Chinese culture believes that following the birth, both the mother and baby are in a weakened state, and are susceptible to falling ill. For this reason, both mother and child are to rest at home for one full month. During this confinement, the mother will eat special restorative foods such as nutritious broths to build up her health. These will include yang foods such as pigs' feet, eggs, vinegar and ginger to restore the balance of qi in the mother's body.

The first major birth celebration in a child's life is Moon-Yut, the month-old party. (This is sometimes called the "red egg and ginger" party.) There is a smaller celebration prior to the Moon-Yut, on the morning of the third day when the baby gets its first bath, but this is limited to close female friends and relatives. The tub is filled with water boiled with locust branches, and a string of cash tied with red silk is fastened around the tub. Each guest is expected to bring a small gift made of silver for the baby; and also places a piece of fruit or red egg into the bathwater.

But at the Moon-Yut, where the child is finally "locked" to this world with a gold or silver padlock and given their childhood name, all the stops are pulled out, and even the poorest families will invite all their relations to celebrate the child's survival - with one exception. Anyone who is very close to a different happy event (such as a wedding) or sad event (such as a funeral) ought not to attend. The happiness ought to be that of the family alone; and the sadness of others should not sully it. After the second birthday, the pattern reverses: if the child's birthday happens to coincide with another auspicious event or even with a senior's birthday, it is the child's birthday which will be "overlooked", so as to keep harmony within the family.

If you are invited to a Moon-Yut celebration, it is very appropriate to bring gifts of money, enclosed in red envelopes (hong bao) for good fortune. Although the amount of money should be in an even number - odd numbers being reserved for cash given during funerals - four of anything is to be avoided.

Some Chinese families also celebrate the hundredth day of a child's life. Friends and family are expected to bring chicken and fish for the celebration dinner, representing abundance and prosperity, but other gifts are nominal.