Welcoming a new child into a family is a big deal and always worth celebrating. China is no exception and there are many meaningful traditions connected with welcoming a new child.
If you’re considering throwing your child an authentic Chinese Homecoming, whether that’s the traditional 30 or 100 days after they join your family or simply at a convenient time, we hope this free guide gives you some helpful inspiration and insight!
In China, a 满月mǎn yuè [complete month] or a 百天 bǎi tiān [100 day] celebration is similar to our baby showers or christenings.
Usually for newborns, these celebrations signify the end of the child’s first full month/ full 100 days [with the family], marks the beginning of the child’s life in the community and most importantly provides an opportunity to present the child to relatives and friends.
(…anything more you’d love to know? Feel free to ask in the comments section!)
We’ve put together a bilingual Homecoming Celebration invitation that not only tells people the when and where but also provides a simple introduction to the concept.
Culturally appropriate ways to welcome a new child:
Words are powerful. Find good ones.
One very important aspect of welcoming a child is finding the right words to speak at the celebration. Often one of the parents [usually the father] will share a few words.
One popular child-related proverb is: 兒童從天降兒童從天降富貴又吉祥 [ér tóng cóng tiān jiàng fù guì yòu jí xiáng] Meaning ‘Children are a blessing from above; honourable and heaven sent’.
Another Chinese blessing for families is this beautiful poem that you can download here:
Candy and Red Eggs
Celebrations in China – and occasionally even when giving out invitations to events – almost always involves giving party favours.
Today, these can range from modern party favours of ‘lucky candy’ or even western products such as ornately packaged Oreos and Ferrero Roches to the more traditional nuts and red-dyed-eggs.
Eggs are almost universally seen as a symbol of new life. Additionally, here in China the round shape is thought to represent a desire for togetherness and unity. Red in Chinese society is symbolic for joy and prosperity. If you’re looking for a natural dye recipe, we quite like this one.
If you (like us) feel a little odd handing out cold hard-boiled eggs as gifts then why not consider having the egg dyeing as an activity at the celebration, or serving the eggs as part of the meal?
Signs of things to come? A fun game.
During the new child celebration, families will often bring out a large tray of items to see what the child might pick up first. If they pick up an abacus, they may be destined to become an accountant; if a pen then maybe a writer; if a book then perhaps an academic. There’s a well known story here about Qian Zhongshu who reportedly grasped a book and went on to become a famous scholar and author.
Some items have been used for decades but any items work; screwdriver for electrician, wooden spoon for cook, stethoscope for a doctor. Why not incorporate items from your own occupations?
Even though this wouldn’t work with older adoptees in its traditional form, a fun alternative is for the child to draw an item blindfolded.
30 days or 100?
In China, new child celebrations may take the form of a 满月 mǎn yuè [complete month] or a 百天 bǎi tiān [100 day] celebration.
On the mainland it’s more common to celebrate a ‘one full month’ whereas in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong the 100 days celebration is more likely. That said, both are equally acceptable and increasingly people are simply choosing what works better for their families.
Chinese friends of ours recently held a 100-day celebration for their new son when they normally would have held a 30-day celebration. The main reason for this choice was that they struggled to find a venue they liked with availability at the one month mark. Unless you’re from a very traditional Chinese family, it seems that either one is increasingly acceptable.
Chinese terms for family members are complicated but a lot of fun!
Kids in Chinese Kindergarten have a song to help them learn the correct names for the various ‘aunts’, ‘grandmas’, ‘cousins’, etc. You can have a listen to it here!
We’ve put together a handy printout that you can have on display at your celebration for people to discover what their correct Chinese titles would be!
We hope you love these insights and ideas into welcoming a new child into your family! Our sincere congratulation on your precious new addition – the proverb had it right, children REALLY are a blessing from above.
Haven’t seen our Homecoming Box with everything pre-packed to celebrate an authentic ‘new son/daughter’ celebration? You can see it here!