The Giving of Red Eggs in The Chinese Tradition

sduncan post on January 30th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: , ,

By Betty Guan

According to Chinese tradition, “Mua Guek”, which means “Full Month” is a celebration for babies who have survived their first month after birth; the significance of this event can be related to the high rate of infant mortality in the past (Heinz, 1999). Traditionally in China, a baby was not named until it was a month old, and a party was hosted in the honor of the baby.

The one month old celebration of the baby has been an important part of the Chinese culture throughout its history. If there is one item that symbolizes the celebration, it would be the famous dyed red egg. Eggs were considered a delicacy in China, so by integrating the egg into the full month celebration, it symbolizes happiness and the renewal of life; as well as announcing the arrival of a new born baby (Wong, 2009). In the old times, parents used to send hard boiled eggs; dyed red, to neighbours, friends and family members as a notice for the upcoming festivity. In present day celebration, if you live in a big city, a party is usually hosted in a restaurant where the red eggs are placed in the table for guests to take home for good luck. Parents can also use the coloured eggs to let others know the sex of the baby; if the baby is a boy, even number of eggs are sent out and odd numbers for a girl. The colour white in Chinese culture symbolizes death, so red colour is used to dye the eggs; as red symbolizes luck, fortune, and happiness (Heinz, 1999).

The Chinese believes that the name of a baby will have great influence in what happen later on in their life, so it is essential for the parents to pick them carefully and announce it on the day of the one month celebration (Wong, 2009).
In recent years, some of the tradition practices surrounding the one month celebration have been modified. The announcement of the child’s name during the celebration is not as widely practice as it was before, but the giving of red eggs to neighbours, friends, and relatives are still a common practice as of today.

Works Cited

Heinz, C.B. (1999). Asian Cultural Traditions. Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

Wong, K. (2009). An Egg and A Name. Retrieved from

http://www.csuchico.edu/~cheinz/syllabi/asst001/spring99/wong/wong1.html

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