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Traditional Chinese Ways to Celebrate Birthdays

Traditional Chinese Ways to Celebrate Birthdays
By Rose Salas

TP 201908 ART 02 2Have you ever wondered how traditional Chinese birthdays were celebrated? Chinese people don鈥檛 celebrate their birthdays in grand every year. They usually spend time celebrating it with family and a few friends. The main celebration happens during the first year of the baby and in their later year in life.

 

Here are some of the traditional ways of celebrating a Chinese birthday:

 

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Chinese Age is Different from Others

 

Most people's age at birth is estimated at zero, as for Chinese, being born means your age is determined to be as one-year-old. Commonly, another year is added to their age on their first Lunar New Year鈥檚 Day. So, a Chinese person can be anywhere from one to two years older than his actual age.

 

For example, if a Chinese friend said that he is 25 years old, more or less, that person is only 23 or 24 in real life.

 

There are three definitions of "age" in Chinese:

 

1. One that refers to the traditional system

2. One that is called the modern age, which starts at zero, but skips the new year's addition

3. The last one is called the solid age, which counts a person's age in years from birth.

TP 201908 ART 03

Zhuazhou is regarded as one of the most important customs on a child's first birthday anniversary

 

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Birthday Noodles are as Famous as Birthday Cakes

 

In a banquet table, a celebration is not complete without the hard-boiled eggs that are dyed in red and dumplings as a symbol of happiness and fortune. Aside from birthday cakes, a birthday noodles or longevity noodles are also served to a Chinese birthday celebrant. These noodles are made with wheat flour, egg, and soda water, giving them a spongy texture. It is a tradition to Chinese people, since it is expected to offer or give a longer life to the celebrant, especially if he slurped them whole. It is also known that if you only bite off a part of the noodles, you are at risk of cutting your own life shorter.

TP 201908 ART 04闀垮闈笌鐢熸棩铔嬬硶涓鏍烽噸瑕

 

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Be Careful with Your Gift

 

Giving a gift to a birthday celebrant is always welcome, but make sure to think carefully of what kind of gift you are giving to a Chinese celebrant. For instance, never give a watch as a gift as it reminds them that life is short, and death is inevitable. Chinese people don't like being warned of their fatality, and giving a watch is radically saying, "Cheers on making it one year closer to death."

 

What is the safest gift you can give to your Chinese friend? Believe it or not, it's a fruit basket.

TP 201908 ART 06璧犻佺敓鏃ョぜ鐗╄灏忓績璋ㄦ厧

 

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Birthday Feast? It's Their Treat!

 

Chinese people tend to celebrate their birthdays at a restaurant, and if you are one of the guests, well, you're in luck. If your friend is a traditional Chinese, he will be treating you to dinner. It may feel weird to accept it, but it is entirely reasonable for a Chinese person to pay the bill on their birthday.

 

So, enjoy the celebration, but expect to reciprocate on your birthday.

TP 201908 ART 07鐢熸棩瀹翠細鐢变富浜鸿瀹

 

涓浗浜哄湪杩囩敓鏃ユ椂閫氬父浼氳鏈嬪弸鍦ㄩ棣嗗悆楗紝骞剁敱鑷繁鏉ユ敮浠樿处鍗曘

 

Do Not Delay Birthday Wishes

 

If you miss your friend's birthday, do not send them belated wishes, gifts, and celebrations. It signifies bad luck to have a party after the exact birthday. It is also likely that your friend won't accept your birthday wishes at all.

 

You are not also allowed to greet them on their 30th birthday, especially Chinese women, they will remain 29 years old for an extra year to eliminate bad luck. If she is turning 33, she needs to buy a piece of meat and chop it to 33 pieces to counteract bad luck and cast-off evil spirits.

 

Traditionally, Chinese people do not tend to have birthdays, not until they reach the age of 60 years old. The 60th birthday is considered a very significant point in their lives, so it is expected to have a more substantial celebration. After that, they celebrate birthdays every ten years after the grand celebration. For example, on the 70th, 80th, 90th, etc. or up until the person's death.

 

Usually, the older the person is, the bigger the celebration of the occasion is. But, as China welcomes global influences, it is becoming more popular to discard the old tradition and give in to the fun of celebrating their birthdays now and then.

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