Parents typically celebrate a baby’s first month of existence for sentimental reasons, such as how the baby was alive and well during its first month. However, it’s more than just a new tradition and has roots deep in Chinese culture.
Aside from celebrating the newborn’s first month, Chinese culture has a specific way of celebrating this event. This involves particular items and offerings to symbolize good health and good luck.
First, let’s start learning more about the Chinese culture behind celebrating a baby’s entire month of life.
Baby full-month celebration
The celebration of a baby’s first year of life is called “Man Yue,” which translates to “full moon,” a symbol of completeness, representing the celebration of a baby’s first month of existence.
This celebration happens one month after the baby is born and is practiced in many different customs and traditions, including Chinese, Peranakan, Malay, and sometimes other Asian communities.
This happy celebration involves inviting family and friends while offering blessings to celebrate the baby’s arrival. One of the iconic traditions for celebrating a baby’s entire month of life is the “red egg and ginger party.”
Red egg and ginger party
This particular tradition involves a family offering guests red-dried eggs and ginger slices. It should be red because, in Chinese culture, red is considered an auspicious color, while ginger also represents warming properties that can help heal the body.
Often, these parties happen in a local Chinese restaurant decorated in red. These restaurant parties would include banquet meals, including multiple courses.
However, there are times when these parties are held at the community center or the home of the person celebrating their baby’s first month of existence. The offerings can be more casual food, desserts, or coffee when this happens.
These parties require participants to wear festive clothes: no shorts, jeans, ties, or dresses. The direct family members may wear suits or dresses, while the guests arrive in semi-formal attire.
Since red is considered the luckiest color, it’s considered the most appropriate color to wear, while black and white should be avoided. Black and white are often worn to funerals or mourning events.
The traditional red envelope is also passed around and should be filled with money. These envelopes are expected to be given to a baby as they are introduced around the party, and some guests may even provide an envelope and physical gift to the infant.
How to host a full moon event
Specific steps must be laid out to follow the traditional event. Of course, these events can be mixed for those who don’t want to be strictly formal.
The parents must introduce the child to the guests around the room, whether asleep or awake. Ideally, the baby’s clothing should be loose, as guests must pin the red envelope to the dress.
Reintroducing the mother
The mother is also reintroduced to the guests after a long period of staying away. Traditionally, Chinese mothers stay indoors to nurse the newborn and recuperate.
Celebration of firsts
The event should include a first for the baby, which could be their first haircut, a new set of clothes, and most importantly, getting their Chinese name.
Announcing the name
Chinese culture believes that a person’s name shapes their destiny in life. Because of this, some traditional Chinese families would even consult fortune tellers or the baby’s grandfather to choose the name.
During the event, the baby is often adorned with a gold necklace or bracelet with a locket or charms. This represents longevity and good luck, wherein the gold is believed to warn evil spirits and ensure they don’t come near.
Like any party, a toast would be said to thank guests for coming while inviting them to be a part of the infant’s life as they grow older.
Modern full-month celebration
For more modern parents who don’t want to follow the traditional Chinese celebration, the red egg, ginger, and standard sequence is often replaced by cake, cupcakes, and a fun party with games and other events.
However, one thing that’s often still practiced even in Western culture is the gift-giving aspect of this event. This means guests often give gifts like toys, baby necessities, or other items.
Depending on whether you want to celebrate the first month of a baby’s life traditionally or in a modern way, any celebration would still be grand. This celebration is a way to give thanks so the infant will make it through their first year of existence, as the parents wish for many more years to come.