Red Egg & Ginger Party
A Chinese tradition that has been practiced for generations, the red egg and ginger party celebrates a newborn's 30th day. It is considered as a special day for the Chinese family because in the olden days the mortality rate of babies in China was high, and infants who reached their 30th day were believed to have surpassed the danger stage.
Traditionally, this is also the time that the baby is named and introduced to friends and other family. Also, customarily, the family offers sacrifices to the gods on the morning of the 30th day. Eggs were considered a delicacy in China and were usually the present brought by the maternal grandmother when visiting the baby. The egg symbolizes fertility and renewal of life, and when it is dyed red it is believed to bring good luck to the child.
This is also the time when parents name their babies and even that is filled with tradition. The Chinese believe that a name can have an effect on a person's life therefore, choosing a good name for the child is very important. In fact, the whole family helps in choosing the name of the baby.
Before, the red egg and ginger party was only celebrated for the male babies, but today these parties are thrown for both the male and female babies. Previously, babies were also shaved in some places in China. Baby girls' hair is shaved in front of an image of "Mother," and the baby boys' is shaved in front of the ancestral table.
Normally, parents would announce the birth of their child by sending vibrantly colored eggs to their friends and relatives. They would send an even number of eggs for a male child and odd number of eggs for a female child. Ginger, on the other hand, is significant for the mother who, after a month, is slowly regaining her health and needs a boost in the right direction. Ginger, together with pig's feet and vinegar are made into a broth which the new mother drinks to regain her strength.
At the party, the invited guests present the child with a gift, which is often an item of clothing or money called a "Lysee" that is placed inside a red envelope called a "hong bao" which is said to be lucky money. Among the popular gift items from guests include those that have a tiger image in them. The reason is that, in Chinese culture the tiger is the king of all animals and is believed to protect the babies from any harm.
In the past, female children were gifted with jewelry that had jade, gold, or silver in them. Parents also present their guests with a special delicacy — a biscuit with pork in it.
Even if the traditional red egg and ginger party has undergone some changes, like holding it in a fancy restaurant or having the party when the child is at most 3 months old, the fundamental practices during this event stays the same even today.