Published: April 3rd 2012March 25th 2012
One-month Baby Party
Chinese Grandfather, Xiao Xiao, Chris and Julie.
We are celebrating the first month of life for Baby Eris and a banquet is on the calendar. Well actually it’s a little less than a month so Julie could attend before our departure. The baby is officially presented to the extended family and friends at a party.
When we arrive, Julie is given a beautiful silk scarf and she wears it for the rest of the event. Round tables are decorated and already have appetizers available for all the arriving guests. A table at the front door is dressed with bright red cloth and littered with packs of cigarettes for the male invitees. Monetary gifts in lucky red envelopes are being offered from every guest that arrives. Xiao Xiao has great patience letting her baby be passed around in the crowd of friends and family.
We are asked to sit down but end up switching tables to be at the front next to the stage. Chinese Grandfather, his brother and the Great Grandparents are all seated with us along with folks who speak English. What a treat to be able to chat. Chris’ boss is one of people and she has great conversational English. She has twin boys
and so we chatter about nannies and kid stuff. The other person is a high school student who is very excited to be placed around an English language discussion. She has mostly questions about the USA and our culture. I always ask the young people, “What music do they like?” and “What movies/TV have you seen?” Generally if they have bothered to do a good job learning English, they also have an interest in our culture.
Now it’s time for the public speaking part. Chinese Grandfather gets on the stage with a microphone and speaks a while getting quite a few laughs. We have learned since we’ve been here that Chinese Grandfather has a sense of humor so sturdy it makes it through all the translations for laughs in any language. Next Chinese Great Grandfather gets up to speak. He doesn’t speak as long and also gets a few laughs. Then the moment is finally here: Julie’s turn to speak. She gets up to the stage with applause as Xiao Xiao accompanies her for translation. Her speech is simple and cheerful as it is repeated in Chinese for the audience to understand.
Chinese Grandfather starts to visit each
table. They are putting some red liquid on his face. Still not quite understanding what this ceremony was all about. I didn’t see any red eggs or ginger as I’ve read about. Once he visits every table in the banquet hall, he comes back to wipe off his face and kick off the feasting.
In Chinese, much of the language is a description versus having a particular word for each person, place or thing. The next part of the event I call Food Mountain. There was so much food there was no way to take pictures of it all. Let’s just say the banquet hall specialized in seafood and it was wonderful. Luoyang being in an inland city, they must be trucking the food pretty fast from the coast for such fresh tasting sea creatures. The stuff shrimp reminded me of living in Biloxi as a child and buying the shrimp right off the boat. There were salads, soups, veggies, side dishes, dumplings and stir-fry. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about that Lazy Susan whirring around with new food at each pass.
Lastly it was time for photos. We snapped endless combinations of parents, grandparents, and extended family.
Baby Eris made it through her first party.
Coming up, our observations and comments page.
There are more photos below