As part of our Chinese traditions, one of the things we do is celebrate the birth of our babies. I’m sure many cultures have this tradition and ritual and why shouldn’t they? The birth of a baby is definitely something to honor and celebrate.
Our celebration usually occurs one month after the birth of the baby. This typically coincides with the end of the mother’s confinement period – we’re required to stay home for 30 days to rest and recuperate. I’ll do a post in the future to explain this further.
The main purpose of the full moon celebration is to introduce the new baby to friends and relatives. Since we’re required to have a confinement period, we don’t typically allow visitors into our home during that one month. I mean, really, who wants people to see them all tired, exhausted and haggity? I certainly didn’t. Plus, it’s more of a health precaution for baby.
Some families go full blown with their celebration with catered food at a banquet hall. Other’s do a small family gathering. When lil man was born, we had a family dinner the day of his one month, but we also had a BBQ at home for friends the week after. We’ve had an annual BBQ every summer for the previous five years so we made use of the BBQ as a way for friends to meet lil man for the first time. We assured friends they didn’t have to bring any presents to the gathering. Being Chinese, our elders and my mom’s friends all insisted on presenting gifts as part of our tradition along with their blessings, so we welcomed them and were thankful and grateful they wanted to celebrate with us. We had lots of food along with our traditional red eggs at the celebration.
We have a lot of different sub-cultures within the Chinese culture. I’ve had some friends whose families had their full moon celebration 100 days after baby’s birth. While we celebrate many of the same traditions, how and when we do them can vary. But, my understanding is the 100 days celebration is chosen because it marks the baby’s first birthday. If you do the calculation, 100 days added to the nine months in the womb is pretty close to a year. Hence, for those Chinese who acknowledge the time in the womb as full life, when we are born, we are already 1-year-old.
Whichever way we choose to celebrate, I think all that matters is we welcome the baby into our families with love and happiness because the miracle of life is a moment that should be cherished.
Does your culture have a traditional way to celebrate the birth of a baby? Share it with us by leaving a comment. We’d love to hear about.
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by meerbabykat