mean birth of a baby. The customs differ in different parts of
China. In central China, when a new baby is born, red eggs will
be sent to the grandma on the mother's side. From the red eggs,
grandma will know the new born baby's gender. If the eggs have
a black dot at one end, it means the baby is a boy, the red eggs
must be in even number, 6 or 8 eggs, wishing the baby boy will
get a wife when he grow up. If the red eggs don't have black
dots, the eggs are in odd number, 5 or 7 of them, it means the
new baby is a girl, odd number wishes the baby girl will get
married in the future.
baby is a month old, relatives and friends are invited
to have the one-month-old-baby banquet. Gifts or money in red
envelopes will be given by the relatives and friends, in return
they get red eggs.
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the third day after the baby's birth, the baby will take a bath,
and names will be given to the new born baby. There are two names
for the baby, one is a nickname used before going to school,
the other is the formal name. The name is very important to the
baby, Chinese believe the name will determine the baby's future.
Consult the fortune teller and calculate from the birth time
of the baby, get the result of which element among the five elements
(metal, water, wood, fire, earth) the baby lacks, and add it
to the name of the baby.
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days after the baby's birth, relatives and friends will send
gifts such as clothes, pants, necklace, bracelets for wrists
and ankles, tiger shoes, hats for the baby. This is an important
day for the baby because 100 days birth celebration represents
the wish that the baby will live 100 years, the baby will wear
a silver longevity pendant (in Chinese called Longevity Lock)
on the neck. The pants will have long fringe on the legs, because
the pronunciation of fringe is the same as year in Chinese.
And the more fringe the more years.
Year Old Birthday
the baby's one year old birthday party, a "Zhua Zhou" (catching
one full year of life) ceremony will be held. The baby will
take a bath and wear the new clothes and pants given by the
grandma on the mother's side. Then the baby will be put on
the big table in the family room, which has a book, a calligraphy
brush, an abacus, a scale, a pair of scissors, a seal, coins,
toys etc on it. What the baby grabs will foretell the future
of the baby. If the book or the brush is caught, it means the
baby will enjoy reading. If the abacus or the scale or the
coin is caught, the baby will be good at doing business. If
the seal is caught, the baby will become a politician. If toys
are grabbed, the baby will be idle in the
Before 50 Years Old
birthday in normal family was simple, red egg and longevity noodles
are the birthday food. 10-year-old birthday is called " Growing
Tail", grandparents from mother's side will give clothes,
shoes, hats and rice as gifts. Every 10 year old birthday is
a big birthday.
Some area such as Shanxi,
Inner Mongolia in China also celebrate the 12-year-old birthday,
it's named "opening the lock". A red scarf is tied
around the baby's neck after the birth, it's called "cloth
lock", and each year another layer of red scarf is added,
on the day of 12-year-old birthday, the lock will be removed, symbolizing
the kid is no longer a child.
On the 16-year-old birthday,
an adult ceremony is held in Fujian province, southern China.
The family will go to the temple and offer the God meat and longevity
noodles. A banquet is held and gifts are given by friends and
Nowadays birthday cake
is popular at birthday party.
customs vary in the 56 nationalities of China. The traditional
Chinese marriage usually has six steps: match-making, engagement,
betrothal presents, meeting the bride, three bows, and drinking
Several days ahead of
the wedding day, a new bed is bought and positioned properly.
New pillows and quilts with dragon and phoenix patterns are put
on the bed. Lotus seeds, red beans, green beans, dates, longans,
and money are spread over the bed. Red candles are placed in
the room. A paper cut of character "Double
Happiness"is taped on the door of the new room. Wedding
couplets are put at the front gate of the groom's home. Nobody
is allowed to enter the new room until the new couple enters
the room on the wedding night.
On the wedding day morning,
the groom rides a horse together with a team of people carrying
a sedan chair and presents for the bride's parent. They also
play musical instruments along the way. The bride, covered by
a red veil on her head, is led by her sister or the bridesmaid
out of her bedroom. Her father then leads her to the groom. The
groom carries the bride on his back and puts her in the sedan
chair. Firecrackers are set off on the way to the groom's home.
The bride is led by
a senior person from the groom's side out of the sedan chair
when arriving at the groom's home. The bride needs to avoid stepping
on the threshold. In the family room, the bride and groom perform
the three bows ceremony, first bow to the sky and earth, second
bow to the ancestor, third bow to groom's parents and then bow
to each other. The bride and groom enter the new bedroom.
A wedding banquet will
be held after that. The bride will remain in the new bedroom.
Only the groom will toast every guest. All the relatives and
friends are invited, and money in red envelopes are given to
the bride and groom.
After the banquet, the
groom enters the candle lit new bedroom and unveils the bride.
People also come along and celebrate in the new bedroom. The
new couple has some sweet dumplings or sweet soup made from
peanuts, dates, lotus seeds and longans, which signifies the
wish that they have a new baby soon. Wedlock wine is drunk. When
it's time, the door will be closed, people will leave the room
but still stay outside and listen to the conversation between
the new couple.
Nowadays a sedan chair
is replaced by the sedan car, the bride dresses in a wedding
gown, and the groom dresses in a suit. The wedding ceremony in
the cities has been westernized. The bride and the groom greet
the guests in front of the restaurant where the banquet is held,
guests give money in red envelopes. Before taking the toast tour
around the banquet tables, the bride will change her dress to
a Qipao (a traditional Qing style dress). Toasts are made to
wish the new couple a long life, eternal love and happiness,
and the early birth of a healthy baby and so on.
birthday celebration is held every 10 years since the 50th birthday.
Some places celebrate the celebration a year ahead, because 9
means "longevity" in Chinese culture. The family
of the birthday senior will give out a "Longevity Peach" made
from flour or rice to relatives and friends. Invitation cards
are sent out. The family room will decorated with a gold " longevity " character
on the middle wall, along with couplets of longevity, paintings
of cranes and pines etc.
On the night before
the birthday, red candles are lit, the birthday senior will burn
incense and bow to the sky and earth and ancestor, then sit on
the first seat in the family room. Children and grandchildren
will all bow to the senior, a gesture called " Bow Longevity".
Firecrackers are set
off in the birthday morning, and relatives and friends will come
and congratulate. However, the birthday senior won't appear and
the first seat in the family room is empty. The guests will bow
to the empty seat.
The longevity banquet
will have eggs, tea and snacks, longevity noodles, wine and delicious
dishes. The birthday senior will eat with several other seniors
of similar age in a separate room to bring a lot
of luck and longevity. Some rich families also will have an opera
show after the banquet.
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