Your baby’s first month is a milestone that’s worth celebrating. And for the benefit of those who are not quite sure what a baby full moon party entails or what’s involved, read on for some ideas.
Baby Full Moon Party
The baby full moon party comes from an old Chinese tradition. Infant mortality rates were high back then, so it means a lot when the baby survives the first month of life. This is the time to showcase and “show off” mother and baby officially for the first time to family and friends. It is a joyous occasion.
The baby’s hair is shaved on this day, and the mother takes her first ginger water bath since giving birth. Friends and family assemble to bless the newborn. The newborn receives gifts in the shape of gold jewellery or “ang pow” (a red packet containing money).
Are you going traditional or modern?
First, ask yourself if you’re a traditional or modern Chinese. Modern Chinese parents opt for celebrating this momentous event by throwing a banquet–style party at a restaurant but the traditional full moon party is held at home.
Baby Full Moon Party Ideas
The Chinese Malaysians commemorate the Full Moon in a few different ways. The most typical is an in-home buffet spread. Red tablecloths, chairs, and gazebos are used to denote happiness, luck, and good health.
Many families decide to throw a party so that everyone may meet the new addition, as the full moon celebration is the family’s opportunity to formally introduce the kid to friends and relatives for the first time. This could take the form of a casual luncheon at your house, a gathering in a HDB void deck or condominium function room, or a more lavish supper at a hotel or restaurant.
Must have food items at your baby full moon bash
Since it is called the red egg and ginger party, it is obvious that those are the two items you must have at your baby’s full moon party. Another popular favourite is red ang ku kueh (red hued glutinous peanut cakes). You will be fine if you have these staples. Why red? Red symbolises luck and blessings whereas eggs represent fertility and new life.
Gift packs for your baby full moon party
At the full moon party, all your relatives and friends will be giving your infant hong bao (red packets) with money, gold and jewellery. But these days parents will also receive baby necessities like toys, books, gift vouchers and practical stuff for the newborn—just like a Western baby shower but one month later.
Since you will be receiving so many amazing gifts, it is only fair that you give your guests something in return. To save cost just DIY. Pack some food items like red ginger, red eggs and perhaps some ang ku kueh and place it in a box to hand out to your relatives and friends.
You can add other items to your gift pack or goodie bag as well. This would be a gesture of appreciation to those who are sharing in the celebration of your new bundle of joy.
Baby Full Moon Cake
The full month cake box (满月礼盒) will customarily contain sweet cakes, as well as customary eggs and ang ku kueh. Additionally, you have the choice of more modern desserts like cupcakes and brownies.
Full Moon Celebration Baby Rituals
Head shaving for your baby dearest
According to tradition, the baby’s hair is not first trimmed until the full moon date. or prior to turning 100 days old.
Blood hair refers to the hair that a newborn has at birth (xie fa). It is thought that this blood hair was polluted with the mother’s blood during childbirth, and leaving it unshaven may offend the gods.
According to popular belief, shaving a child’s hair would encourage the growth of a full, thick head of hair that would last well into adulthood.
If you are a stickler to tradition, your baby must have his or her first haircut at this baby full moon party. After the snipping of hair, mother and baby are to take a bath in water that is mixed in with pomelo leaves. This ritual is believed to wash and ward off bad luck and evil.
If you want to go the extra mile, parents can even get a souvenir out of this. Hair from the baby’s first haircut can be used to make a calligraphy brush and on this brush, you can engrave well wishes of happiness, health and wisdom.
Young parents are slowly adopting the technique of trimming and styling their child’s hair rather than shaving it in current times as a result of the stylish haircuts that celebrities sport.
It is important to remember that scissors emit bad energy and should never be used near a helpless child. For this reason, shaving is preferred to cutting in Chinese culture.
In every case, shaving or cutting carries the symbolic meaning that the event is meant to convey.
Paying respect to ancestors
The next action is to honour ancestors.
This is done in order to introduce the new family member to the ancestors and ask for their blessings on the child’s health and happiness.
In some instances, the child’s bazi is also given to the ancestors.
Offering traditional foods like red turtle cakes (Ang ku kueh), fruits, rice, etc. is a part of this devotion procedure.
This ceremony is referred to as in Mandarin as (song tou wei). The phrase literally means “gifts from head to tail.”
The underlying message is that the baby kit, which includes 12 gifts, will completely outfit the infant.
The mother’s family is obliged to provide this kit of gifts, which includes the following:
- Hat for baby
- Baby shirt
- Gold jewellery
- Infant sling (for boys)
- Pair of baby shoes
- Pair of baby socks
- Red packet containing money
- Silver jewellery
Some traditions stress that the grandmother, who is the mother’s mother, should give the gift. Furthermore, a list of symbolic gifts may include specifics such as 120 buns, 120 dumplings, 80 eggs, 10 sets of hats and shoes, etc. Additionally, according to ancient writings, one of the hats should be in the shape of a lotus hat, which is symbolic of luck.
In exchange, the father’s family would give baked goods, sticky rice, red-dyed eggs, and red-dyed peanuts to signify how auspicious the occasion was. All visitors are expected to have at least one regular egg.
While the aforementioned 12 items are more useful in nature, other times a different collection of items that are more symbolic in nature are supplied.
These consist of:
- Duck and chicken eggs dyed in red
Grooming for mum
The new mother’s confinement comes to an end when the baby’s full moon is celebrated. As a result, she may finally wash her hair and take her first bath in water infused with pomelo leaves. The morning bath on that day still holds a lot of significance, even if few modern moms today still adhere to the avoidance of water throughout confinement for reasons of hygiene.
If you have not given a Chinese name to your baby yet—the baby full moon party is the perfect time to do so. Traditionally, the paternal grandfather selects a name for the infant. The choice of name means everything, as it is believed that the name will determine the character and personality of your infant.
We’d love to hear your ideas for a baby full moon party!
Image Source: iStock
Updates by Matt Doctor
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