Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cutie Celebration

This weekend was a very important milestone in our family. A Chinese tradition dating from ancient times, the family celebrates after a baby reaches its one month birthday. Such a milestone likely made sense way back when, when it was indeed cause for celebration for any baby to survive that long out of the womb. In addition, before the one month mark, the woman and the baby are in self-imposed "hibernation" before the official unveiling. I've heard traditions where the mother isn't supposed to bathe or wash her hair the entire time. Ick. Thank goodness my family isn't strictly traditional.Although my sister and sister in law (and myself) didn't adhere to that, we did have to deal with an onslaught of soup from dear Mom.

In the "olden days" (don't ya just love it, my terminology screams "mom of 2 kids"), this "coming out" was celebrated by the newborn's family by sending out gifts of red eggs and ginger, for good luck. Nowadays, there's a 10 course Chinese banquet with a celebration along the lines of a traditional Chinese wedding banquet. In other words, a big party with tons of food, and tons of gifts and red envelopes (hung bow) full of lucky money for the baby. And lots of "friends of the family" (ie. Grandma and Grandpa's circle) that you don't even know that well. Or as I call them, the "village people", and they've never stepped foot in the YMCA.

Now with two new baby girls in the family, born less than 24 hours apart, it only made sense to have this celebration (or "Moon Yuet" ) as a joint banquet. Although they're now two months old, today's rules allow for the banquet to happen between one and three months of age. What a special party it was, and the girls were really well-behaved, just little angels really, the whole time. The party lasted over 3 hours, and they were awake for much of the time. Real troopers, those girls, even though they were obviously over-tired, and there was some crying as expected, it went really well.

And my kids had a great time, as it was a totally kid-centric event. There were probably just as many children as adults there. Which made it a real party indeed.

Although we had a banquet for L when he was born, we didn't do so when our little G came along. For one thing, she was born just before Christmas, and we didn't want to have a big party for her in the midst of a freezing Ontario winter; she was a bit of a fussy baby; scheduling would have been a nightmare given Ian's travel for work, and to be honest, I felt that we'd already had our fair share of gifts and cash from friends and family for our first baby. Having another banquet seemed too much of a cash grab for me; not that I have anything against any parents that celebrate each and every new baby in this lavish fashion, this is just what felt right for us. It was a miracle gift that we were lucky enough to be blessed with another baby at all.

So we dressed our kids up for this party, as my parents still wanted to show off their older grandkids to all their friends. And my tykes didn't disappoint, especially little G. She loves a party, and especially a party dress.

Hamming it up with Grandpa!

Born a diva; always a diva :)


Kellan Rhodes said...

I love this tradition. What a great party and your daughter is precious there with her grandfather! I enjoyed learning about this custom, thanks for sharing.

bec said...

I loooove hearing about the traditions you and your family observe. It's nice to see that the traditions are still celebrated and have adapted to suit modern times, kind of linking old with new. So beautiful to celebrate so many aspects of life, from newborn (and perhaps pre-partum--can't remember) to the afterlife and your ancestors.

Pavel said...

What an incredible and wonderful celebration! Thank you for writing about this because I never knew and now I'm glad I do. The kids looked like they had such a wonderful time too. I love it!

louann said...

That sure looks like a big celebration :) Whatever the culture, big or small, new life must always be celebrated! :)

Dina said...

your neices are adorable!!!
That is a lovely tradition to keep!! I'm sure they will love hearing all about it when they are older :)


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