Fascinating Traditions for Welcoming Newborns

One of the directors at the office had a new baby girl last month and today was her 满月 (man yue*) so Proud Papa gave all of us a celebratory gift each.

* Literally translated this means full moon. Its the celebration of a newborn’s first month on earth. In the past, infant mortality rates were quite high, and a newborn baby was not named or formally accepted into the family until the month period was up, by which time, its chances of survival were high.

Its pronounced “man”, as in de-mand without the ending ‘d’ and “you-eh”.

Comes in a pretty pink metal box that I am gonna put my girly things into at the office!

This is quite different from what us Singaporeans are used to. Our local customs usually involve red eggs, traditional sweets and a cake.

满月 coincides with the end of the new mum’s confinement period, and both mother and baby are formally introduced to the extended family and friends. For many of them, this will be the first time they are meeting the new baby.

Traditional cakes and eggs, dyed red to symbolise good luck and fortune, are given or sent to relatives and friends. Eggs are chosen as they represent fertility and their shape symbolises harmony. It is believed that if you have a boy, you give out an odd number of eggs; if you have a girl, you give out an even number of eggs.

According to word of mouth on Hokkien tradition, if you have a son, plain round ang ku kuehs (red glutinous peanut cakes) are given out, and if you have a girl, you mould the ang ku into the traditional tortoise moulds, which are more intricate and delicate. Ang ku kuehs symbolizes luck, prosperity and longevity.

What’s in the box (clockwise from top):

Red egg, red date, mochi, golden egg, glutinous walnut cake and a congratulatory biscuit =)

These were bought on Taobao. You could try ordering this unique baby shower gift instead of the same old Bengawan Solo that everyone gets!

I was intrigued by the different practices between China and Singapore even though we’re all Chinese so I googled a bit and found out these interesting full month celebrations across the globe:

Packaging the Umbilical Cord Inside a Wooden Box (Japan)
Outdoor Napping for Babies (Denmark and Sweden)
Every Newborn Gets a “Maternity Package” from the Government (Finland)
Place the Baby in a Large Sieve and Shake It to Help the Newborn Get Accustomed to the Vagaries of Life (Egypt)
Place a Baby on the Floor Surrounded by Symbolic Items in Order to Know His/Her Future (Armenia)
The Afterbirth and Cord are Buried in a Special Location and a Tree is Planted on that Spot (Jamaica)
Babies’ Feet Cannot Touch the Ground Since Newborns are Considered Divinities from Heaven (Bali)
Put Money in the Baby’s Hand in Order to Bring Prosperity to the Newborn (Trinidad and Tobago)
The Mother Prepares Souvenirs for Each Person Who Comes to Visit the Baby (Brazil)
Hot Stone Massages and Full-Body Exfoliation Treatment to Chase Away Postpartum Body Changes (Malaysia)

Read the full article here.

PS: If you think you’ve read the front part of this post before somewhere else, you’re not wrong. I copied and pasted from another blog I write for. It’s not plagiarism if I copy myself right?

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