Baby One Year Old Birthday and Chinese Tradition

My nephew, Carvin with his parents

My nephew, Carvin with his parents

There is an ancient Chinese tradition to throw a huge birthday party when a baby turns one. Given the high infant mortality rate during ancient times in China (hello drought, war, famine, disease), they believe if the baby turns one he has a higher chance to live longer. Thus, one year birthday extravaganzas in China was born. When the Chinese fled to other Southeast Asian countries during the tumultuous 19th Century (hello civil war, drought and famine) they brought their Chinese customs and traditions with them.

My family was one of those Chinese who fled China when the Communists and Nationalists were fighting.

Wearing a Filipino, i mean American shirt

Wearing a Filipino, i mean American bib

They continue to practice the big one year old birthday party. So Carvin, much to his pretty young one year old mind was subjected to a huge fiesta spectacle when all the poor baby wanted to do was eat and sleep. And this is why I went back to Cagayan de Oro, Philippines to see my baby nephew turn one.

First was his Catholic baptism. He didn't cry. Good boy Carvin!

First was his Catholic baptism. He didn’t cry. Good boy Carvin!

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He even had his own igloo

At least his uncles kept him laughing during the whole party

At least his uncles kept him laughing during the whole party

He had a more enjoyable time when we returned home. We had another Chinese tradition waiting for him. Zhuazhou is an important Chinese tradition that goes back to the Song dynasty (960-1279). Parents place a variety of things in front of the baby and whatever he chooses will determine his path in life.

So unbeknownst to him, Carvin was sealing his destiny.

From right to left, we put a Bible (priest), skillet (he might be a chef), a toy car (race car driver- his father had ambitions), a stethoscope (doctor), a book (an academic, a teacher, writer, etc), a Php 1,000 note (be in finances) and a basketball (’nuff said).

We laid out the things in front of Carvin. He was so excited with his new game.

We laid out the things in front of Carvin. He was so excited with his new game.

And he picked….

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A book!

Unfortunately, he picked the only book they had in the house which was my copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, he picked the only book they had in the house which was my copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I can’t tell you how much I tried to stop laughing. My sister wouldn’t want to know her son picked a book on a coked out writer ramping his way through vegas to search for drugs.

He also picked a…

A stethoscope

A stethoscope

Carvin is on his way to become a doctor who administers drugs.

Geeeehddd....

Geeeehddd….

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