Sunday, February 18, 2007

The One Month Party

Red Egg and Ginger Party (滿 月 酒)

Traditionally back in olden days of ancient China, the mother would be confined to the house in the first month of post-partum. This was done in order to giver her time to rest and recover from the physical stress of labour and delivery of the baby. Also, the mortality rates of babies in China back then were the highest in the first month of the baby's life - if the baby survived the first month, then it is likely that the baby will have a long and prosperous life. It was common back then to wait for a period of time after the birth of the baby before officially welcoming the baby into the circle of family and friends.

As a result, the Chinese held a "Red Egg and Ginger" party to celebrate these two events - the mother's "re-integration" back into regular life and to welcome the baby into the family and the world. It was also common at this time to formally present the name of the baby as a part of the celebration. The egg represents fertility, red symbolizes good fortune. Ginger is important because in the yin (cold) and yang (warm) balance of Chinese food, ginger adds quicker recovery and rejuvenation to the new mother.

Ok, ok, so not every letter of the tradition has been followed, but it's still definitely a one-month celebration that was held for Silas on Feb 17, 2007. Unfortunately, due to Silas's dad being out of a steady source of income, Silas was not able to invite all the people that he wanted to see at his party. It is Silas's most sincere hope that those who had heard about this party, but wondered why they were not invited, would understand and forgive his dad for this offense.

Silas's one month party also happened to coincide with Chinese New Year's eve for this year. During Chinese New Year's Eve, it is customary and a big social event for the families to gather and have a big dinner to usher in the new year, and also as a symbolic gesture of reinforcing the family bonds (團 年 飯). So, Silas's one month party also served as the Chinese New Year's Eve family dinner. For Chinese New Year, it is customary for the younger children say "Gung Hay Fat Choi!" to their aunts and uncles, and in return they receive packets of lucky red envelopes containing sums of $$$$. But with Silas being the alpha male in the clan (seriously, Silas's dad is soooo subservient now, it's no longer funny), and with his one month coinciding with Chinese New year's eve, some of his aunts and uncles went over the top and as a result, Silas was the lucky recipient of some bling-bling.

What would a one month old know about 24-karat and jade bling-bling? Right, and that's what Silas's dad thought as well. Anyways, to prepare for this big event, Silas had a nice hot and soothing bath in the afternoon, followed by an extra long nursing from Silas's mummy, so Silas was pretty much knocked out for most of the night, and had no clue what was going on around him during the dinner, or how many times he was passed around from stranger to stranger like a basket of bread.

During this one month party, it was tradition and customary for Silas to go around to each table and have a toast with each guest. However, since it was such a small party, and since Silas's parents wanted to keep things informal, there was no ritual toasting at each table, but just going to each person and chatting, catching up, and having fun in a relaxed atmosphere. It was all good.

1 comment:

Fianna said...

so where's the allabouttamara blog huh?? playing favourites albert... its gonna come back and bite you in the ass one day :D