Saturday, January 14, 2012

The First One Hundred Days

Photo credit to Sister K

Today marks the 100th day since my beautiful niece was born into this world. Traditional Chinese households still celebrate this milestone but we had already celebrated her one-month celebration a couple of months ago. Happy 100th Day E! I got a text from my brother-in-law the other night letting me know that she laughed her first real laugh. I cannot wait to hear it! She has grown so much.

I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know too much about traditional Chinese rituals and ceremonies but I love my culture and am fascinated by everything that I find out along the way. Yesterday I did some online research on the meaning of a child's first 100 days on earth and found this little write-up that is both fascinating and curious at the same time. I don't know if anyone still follow these steps outside of China but a lot of it is based on symbolic significance as well as superstitions. 

And because I live for food references...see the highlighted text below. Yu Char Kuei is a fried dough pastry that is a little bit sweet and salty at the same time. Often eaten with coffee and used for dipping or eaten with congee. It says in the text below that you would give this to a child on his/her 100th days so that he/she can learn to walk. Like a mini walking stick?


Red (colored) eggs!

"In the first 100 days of a child's life there are at least five events celebrating her life. On the morning of the third day, a Chinese baby gets her first bath. The midwife officiates this ceremony which is attended by female friends and relatives. The midwife sits with the mother on her bed surrounded by a straw sieve, a mirror, a padlock, an onion, a comb and a weight. An offering of incense to the god and goddess of the bed burns nearby. The baby is bathed in hot water boiled with locust branches and artemis plants. There is red silk and a string of cash fastened around the tub. Guests place a piece of fruit or colored egg into the water. Each guest places a spoonful of cool water in the basin and gives a small gift of silver to the baby. The baby's biggest celebration is at one month when the mother's allowed out of her room. Family and friends dine and celebrate all night. Money is given in bright red envelopes and the baby wears a silver or gold padlock around his neck locking the child to this world. On the hundredth day some Chinese families host another celebration. Friends and family bring fish and chicken to the child's home. When the chicken is cooked, the tongue is rubbed on the baby's lips to make the child a good talker. And the baby's paternal grandfather may present the baby with a rocking chair. Traditionally, the child's first birthday is also celebrated with a large feast and offerings to the gods and goddesses. Parents also place a variety of objects in a basket -- a pen, silver, official seal, needlework and some toys -- and offer the basket to the child. The object the baby grabs signifies the child's future. The traditional first-birthday gift is a gold ring meant to protect the baby during harsh times. A long bread, yu char kuei, is given to the child for the first time. It is believed it will help him learn how to walk. The day he walks, a relative walks behind him with a knife drawing three lines on the ground. The Chinese believe there are invisible bindings around a child's ankles binding him to a previous life. With the bindings cut, the child walks freely forever." (Source)


BikramYoginiRunner said...

Cool traditions! The Yu Char Kuei looks like a churro to me. Yumm!

Madison said...

BikramYoginiRunner: it IS like a churro now that I think of it. Not as sweet but very similar. Good eye!