Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Peanut's Red Egg & Ginger Party
One of the things I find amazing and exciting about B's family are the cultural traditions. This is a perfect example.
In February B's parents threw Peanut a Red Egg and Ginger party.
Traditionally this party is thrown when the baby turns 1 month old. It was at this party that parents would introduce their new baby to family and friends as well as announce the name of the new baby. In some families it was normal to all decide on a name together at the party.
In ancient China (as in many other places) infant mortality rates were high and many babies didn't live long. It was common to withhold naming the baby until they were sure s/he would survive. It was thought that if the baby survived to 1 month they were likely to make it.
This was also the time that the mother, who would have been resting and taking care of baby indoors for the first month, was able to step out. After a month it seemed that both mother and baby were recovered from the birthing process.
This was cause for a big celebration!
Why Red Egg & Ginger? It was customary for the hosts of the party to give the guests eggs dyed red. The egg is a symbol of fertility and new life, where as the color red is a symbol of happiness. The shape of the egg shows unity and harmony.
I didn't get a picture of it but B's cousin led me thru the process of rubbing the egg on Peanuts brow and face to bring him fertility. I seriously love things like that, when he has his own baby I'm going to tell him it's because I rubbed that red egg on his face!
Ginger has to do with bringing balance to the yin (cold) and yang (hot). Ginger brings a touch of heat to the dishes served in order to help the mother. After giving birth the mother is often tired and weak (too yin) and needs the added heat.
The soup shown above is called Gai Jow and is made with chicken, wood ear mushrooms and Chinese whiskey. It's said to increase milk production.
It was really, really tasty. I suppose for the next baby, I ought to eat this for the first several months :)
What you see in this bowl is tim suen gee guerck which is basically sweet and sour pigs feet. It's made with a special, very dark, sweet black rice chinese vinegar.
This is to help flush the blood and also rebuild strength. The calcium from the bones is also supposed to be very good for you.
I'll be honest, I had some of the pigs feet but not too much.... but I loved the sweet and sour broth-y part. I drank quite a bit of it.
Both dishes were made by B's aunt and mom. Traditionally both would be eaten daily for the month following birth.
At the restaurant there was an incredible amount of food. (Of course there was.) It was all so incredibly good that just thinking about it makes me salivate.
There was Filet Mignon medallions, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Garlic Green Beans, Chicken with Black Mushroom, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Fried Rice and the star of the show...
Roasted Suckling Pig. This was really incredible. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of it once we started eating it. The skin was so crispy and the meat was sooo juicy. I have no idea how they got so much flavor in every bite.
My favorite part of the picture is the crispy little tail!
Most of B's family along with family friends were able to make it. There were just about 100 people there to welcome our little Peanut into the family.
It was an incredible experience to be in a room with so many people who are so genuinely happy for you and want the best in the world for your baby. We're lucky to belong to such a family.
Little Peanut did wonderfully! We were there for about 4 hours and he was passed around the entire time. Constantly in other peoples arms, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and he didn't fuss at all. The kid loves being social.
In the picture above you see him with his Great Aunt Mabelle. I recently found out that she is 94 years old. I was completely floored, you should see the way she hopped into the Highlander. I still don't really believe it.
Another tradition is the giving of Lysee or "lucky money" and Peanut was very spoiled. I mean, when is Peanut not spoiled?
We've officially started his college fund.
B's aunt made thee little booties as favors and sent them from Boston. Our niece made all these little thank you cards with the red eggs on them.
So much time and effort went into the planning of this party.
Thank goodness that B's mom and dad are so good about taking pictures. I forgot my camera about 15 minutes into the party and they managed to take pictures of every single table!
I love this picture of B and his cousins.
Here are the next generation of cousins!
Peanus is one lucky boy. It was an amazing time full of fantastic tradition and I am forever grateful to be a part of this family.
A huge thank you to B's parents!