Red egg and ginger party

When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, people in China say that she "has happiness".

The first month in life of a baby is very important. Period of one month was chosen on purpose. Because of poverty in the past, infant mortality rate in China was quite high. People believed that a baby who reached one month is going to survive. On the morning of baby's 30th day, families offer sacrifices to gods. They should protect baby in his or her life.

Rather special party is organized. The Chinese call it "Moon-yut" (Mun-yut). Many people also call it the red egg and ginger party. Guests arriving at the party bring presents. Nowadays both baby boys and girls get "Lysee" or "lucky money" in red envelopes or in “hong bao” packets. In the past baby girls received jewelry.

Table set for Red egg and ginger party
Table set for Red egg and ginger party

There are some other presents. In Chinese mythology a tiger is the king of all animals. It is believed that tiger protects babies. That is why people bring presents - tiger hats, tiger shoes, tiger bibs and similar objects. To add little more luck on some of these hats, there are golden, silver or jade charms. Tiger shoes have little eyes on them. These eyes should guide babies in the first steps they make.

Baby's parents also give presents to guests. Different kind of presents are given in different regions. The most common presents are eggs dyed in red and little bit of ginger. Such an egg is rubbed on the baby's forehead and the hair is then snipped and saved. Eggs are symbols of life changes and their round shape symbolizes harmony and happiness in life. Eggs are dyed red because this colour in China means happiness.

Red eggs
Red eggs

Sometimes parents announce the birth of their child by sending brightly coloured eggs, in even number for a baby boy and in odd number for a baby girl. Ginger has its symbolic meaning too. In Chinese cuisine it is very important to establish balance in the yin (cold) and yang (warm). Ginger adds a spicy touch to nutritional needs of a new mother, who is tired and weak (or Chinese would say too yin) after pregnancy and giving birth. To get stronger, new mothers in China traditionally drink a special broth made with pig's feet, eggs, vinegar and ginger.

Parents can also send thank you cards to guests that were present at the red egg and ginger party. There are people who instead of such cards send small round biscuits with pork in them. In some places there is a tradition that during red egg and ginger party parents shave baby's hair. Girl's hair is shaven in front of the image of "Mother", the Goddess of Children. For boys shaving is done in front of the ancestral table.