Red Egg and Ginger First Month Chinese Baby Birthday Party
A Red Egg and Ginger Party is a Chinese cultural tradition that celebrates a baby’s 1 month birthday. High infant mortality rate was common in China as well as other countries at the time so a baby who reached one month of age was likely to survive, and so the event was celebrated. At the celebration, the infant is finally shared with friends and family for the first time and named of the baby is announced.
The naming of the baby was very important because the Chinese believed that one’s name can influence everything that happens in life. In selecting a name for the baby, it was up to the family to decide if the given name will be the child’s formal name or a “milk name.” The milk name is a nickname used until the child starts school, or even up until marriage. A child’s formal name was usually picked by it’s grandparents or in some areas, a fortune-teller. This was the name that is presented during the Red Egg and Ginger Party.
Red Egg and Ginger invitations are done on bright red paper with gold lettering announcing a “Redd Egg and Ginger Party. The traditionally favor given out are eggs that have been dyed red to symbolize happiness and renewal of life.
Traditionally, this was also a time to reintroduce the mother to the world. The Chinese believe mothers are in a highly weakened state in the period immediately following birth. Just as English custom calls for new mothers to enjoy a brief period of confinement, Chinese mothers have traditionally been expected to rest indoors for one full month after giving birth. This helped ensure they didn’t become overtired, or contract any germs or illnesses from the outside world that could prove dangerous in their weakened state. Besides resting, they drank a nutritious broth made with pig’s feet, eggs, vinegar and ginger. Many new mothers still follow this ritual today.
This partly explains the name of the party but where does ginger come in? Ginger is important because in the yin (cold) and yang (warm) balance of Chinese food, ginger adds a touch of ‘hotness’ to the nutritional needs of the new
mother, who is tired and weak (or too yin) after giving birth. Well, ginger is supposed to balance out an overtired new mother’s yin and yang with a little heat. Ginger and eggs are both given out at the event.
If you are attending a Red Egg and Ginger party and don’t know what to get. Gifts traditionally given are money in red envelopes or clothing. Lysee or “lucky money” in red envelopes is often given to baby boys, while girls may receive expensive jewelry.