From one moon to another – celebrating all things lunar
How a landmark moment in US history got us thinking about babies.
July 16th 2019 marked 50 years since three NASA astronauts buckled up, strapped in and shot away from the safety of planet earth to explore the unknown.
Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong were all aboard the historic Apollo 11 moon mission. Humble humans had exited earth’s atmosphere before and had even circled the moon, but this was the first time someone had touched down and stepped out onto the giant rock that anchors our night sky.
Thanks to our close links with China through our studio in Shanghai, as well as our expertise in all things mum-and-baby, this landmark moment in US history got us thinking about other moon-related celebrations…
Chinese Full Moon
According to Chinese custom, when a baby turns one month old, a ceremony is held to celebrate their first full month of life. Named a full moon party – the Chinese term ‘full month’ also translates to ‘full moon’ – this ancient tradition dates back to a time when infant mortality rates were high, so it was a pretty big deal if your baby made it through the first month of life.
Marked as a joyous occasion to ‘show off’ your new baby, how can you acknowledge it in modern-day terms?
Outlined in this article, the traditional rituals of a baby full moon party certainly eclipse your run-of-the-mill baby shower…
Before the party, cakes and eggs – representing fertility and harmony – are coloured red and sent to family and friends. There are two different types of cakes; round peanut cakes if you have a boy, and if you have a girl, a tortoise mould is used to create a more intricate and delicate shape.
Another ritual dictates that parents shave the baby’s head entirely, with some of this hair used to make a calligraphy brush as a keepsake. Alternatively, instead of shaving the whole head, you can just trim a single lock to symbolise the shedding of the birth hair.
After your desired level of hair removal, both mum and baby take a relaxing bath with a scattering of fresh pomelo leaves. These leaves are said to wash away evil or negative influences and feature heavily in Chinese folklore as a whole.
Once the baby is fully cleansed and purified, the party can begin!
With friends and relatives gathered together, tradition dictates that the paternal grandfather picks a suitable name for your baby. This is an important Chinese custom, as it is believed the given name will determine your baby’s personality.
Finally, the best part – presents! Friends and family gift you baby clothes, toys and books as a modern interpretation of delivering jewellery in a red pouch.
While celebrating your beautiful baby’s first month of life could be a joyous occasion, feel free to interpret the ancient Full Moon traditions as you like – although I’d suggest certainly sticking with the presents bit!
Why not coincide – dates permitting – with a moon landing party, celebrating two major life events in one?
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