5 Red Egg and Ginger Party Traditions I Love

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I just threw my final red egg and ginger party. A Chinese and Vietnamese tradition, usually held at the one month or 100 day mark, I pushed it out to the 1 year mark for ET's first birthday and combined it with the 1 year traditions because of the following reasons:
  • I didn't want to entertain a few dozen of my closest friends and family while trying to nurse a newborn around the clock. That sounds like a special kind of torture. 
  • Newborns have undeveloped immune systems which means exposure to a few dozen people who may or may not take kindly to an RSVP request that requires immunization records that date back at least 2 weeks before the party but no more than a few years before. Even typing that made me cringe. 
  • Modern medicine makes it less and less likely for babies to pass before the 30 day or 100 day mark so the real milestone is keeping this kid alive until he could turn 1. He happens to be a danger seeking missile so I am pretty proud we hit the 365 day mark without major incident. The kid will climb anything taller than a step if he can manage it with his little baby legs. 
  • I wanted to.
Traditionally, a red egg ginger party was to celebrate the survival of the baby at the 30 day mark with offerings on the altar to the gods/boddhisatvas, welcome the mother coming back to society after the "sitting month" zuoyuezi, guests give the baby red envelopes filled with money, tiger themed apparel, jewelry for girls, red eggs (symbols of happiness, luck and unity) and ginger (warming for the mother) along with roast pork are given to the guests, the baby's hair is either snipped or shaved and the parents announce the name of the child. Before the 30 day mark, it was considered bad luck to name the child because evil spirits want to steal things that are cherished. Instead the babies were given insulting nicknames so the spirits would ignore them like trash. Legitimately a thing, google it for real. 

There's also a 100 party which seems really redundant but probably a good excuse for families to get together again to celebrate the baby one more time. I personally wouldn't do this because that's like having two baby showers, people might start to feel like it's a gift grab. Or a laiseebao grab. 

At the 1 year party, some of the same things happen as the 30 day party. Offering on the altar, family and friends, roast pork, etc. But then a few things are different, like the picking of the profession. Yeah, you think it's hard for a senior in college to pick a major in college, try being a 1 year old picking a life's purpose. That's real pressure. Here are the tradition I held onto when merging the Red Egg and Ginger Party with the 1 year party:

Red (chocolate) egg and candied ginger. Still full of luck, unity and warmth.

1. Giving out red eggs and ginger. With a twist. I mean, the party is literally named after these things. Instead of hardboiled red eggs and picked ginger, I opted for red Lindor eggs (thank goodness for Easter candy) and candied ginger. I thought it would be happier. I also only put one egg in each goody bag instead of two even though ET is a boy and historically it is two for a boy and one for a girl because historically the Chinese were sexist. #oneeggforallgenders

2. Offerings on the altar. This is a custom that I do so my kids will remember it and hopefully do it also. As a child, my mother always put offerings on the altar for the holidays and events that required it. My grandmother did as well. I think about how I am connected to them through these acts of following our customs and sharing them with my kids. 

3. Announcing the name. Armed with a cricut and a supplier of mylar balloon letters, I incorporated ET's Chinese and Vietnamese names into the party decor and used a monkey theme because he was born the Year of the Monkey. These names will be what our family calls him at home, particularly his grandparents, as a regular reminder that he is indeed Chinese Vietnamese.

Chinese name official. Thanks Cricut.



Announcing Vietnamese name up in here. 

4. Selecting a calling. This is probably the most fun part of a first birthday. A variety of items are placed in front of the baby and the baby picks one and that is supposed to indicate what the child will pursue for their career. A ball may mean an athlete, a book could be a scholar, a stethoscope would mean a doctor, scissors indicate a tailor and a parent who is a little too lax about baby safety.  

Many parents put a variety of items, even ones for professions they wouldn't agree with. They are better parents than me. I used what I had available, focused on careers I feel are ideal and avoided any indication of sports. ET went for the calculator, which normally means banker, but it was a graphing calculator which could also indicate computer programming/engineering. He picked the stethoscope after that so the world really is his oyster. 

Calculator, Stethoscope then Book. 
5. A whole roast pig. This ties back to culture and how at major milestone events like engagements, weddings and baby related parties, a whole pig is offered on the altar to ward off evil spirits, bring luck and success and all those other things that we Chinese/Vietnamese revere. Also, it is delicious and a rare treat because most families don't go buying a whole roast pig on the regular. After the offering, the roast pig is cut and served to eat and leftovers are sent home with guests. This might be the last whole roast pig I buy in my life, or at least until I have grandchildren. If I have them. No pressure kids.

Other typical foods include noodles, desserts, chicken, fish, often in a traditional chinese banquet style. Modern mamas do things like red cupcakes too. 

Red Velvet Cupcake with Monkeys.

A few other things I did for the party was use Minted for the invitations to the Red Egg and Ginger party, bought a brand new red outfit for ET to wear, picked up a tower for the red cupcakes, customized with iced monkey decorations, and cut out a happy birthday banner with a Cricut Simply Sweet and Animal Kingdom cartridges for the monkey banner pieces. Little man's hair has not been shaved.

And with that, my last baby is one. All the tears. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission on the sale. I promise I will never recommend or link to a product that I don't believe will bring you value as a member of the Swell Mommy community. 


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2 comments:

  1. Wow I've never heard of this tradition before. It sounds lovely! And your little one looks adorable!

    ReplyDelete