A birthday is a time when someone celebrates the anniversary of his/her birth. It is the expression of thanking God for tour birth and still keeping alive. It is the time when your past emerges with your present and future.
Birthdays are celebrated often with parties and gifts and in most parts of the world, it is celebrated in the same ways.
But if we dig into Chinese culture and want to know about how are birthdays celebrated in China?
It is completely a different and interesting thing.
So here in this article, we will discuss celebrating birthdays in China.
Chinese Calculate Their Age In Different Manners:
In the West and most of the world, a child turns one on the first anniversary of his/her birth whereas In China age is calculated according to the lunar calendar without counting zero which means when a child born his /her age is automatically considered as one.
Additionally, another year is added to age on his or her first Lunar New Year’s Day.
Traditionally people of China do not celebrate a birthday every year. The very old person and the very young person receive special consideration because in the culture of China, the elders are held very high respect and it is the responsibility of the family to maintain the ancestry with the new generations of the family.
Interesting Facts About Chinese Kid Birthday:
After reading the way of calculating the age you must be getting confused about do Chinese kids celebrate their birthday? So the answer is yes they do but in a quite different way.
The first birthday party of a Chinese child takes place when he/she turns two years old. Parents celebrate a birthday by surrounding a child with symbolic items such as a one, a toy airplane, an abacus, a flute, etc. and these items are the attempt to predict the future of the child.
For instance, the abacus indicates that the child will become a successful businessman, whereas a pen predicts the natural talent of being a writer in a child, a flute means a child will be successful in the field of music d when a child grabs a toy airplane which means he/she destined to travel.
Counting Age And Birthday Celebration Of An Elderly Person:
You can inquire about the age of an elderly person, by politely asking for their Chinese zodiac sign. It is possible in Chinese zodiac signs to figure out the actual age.
Sixty is a highly important age because it is considered an entire life cycle. Because at the age of 60, Chinese yearly zodiac sign including animal sigh and elemental zodiac sign become the same as one’s year of birth.
Their birthday celebration is done in the large banquet with family and friends are around and peach-shaped dumplings and long noodles are always served.
Taboos Of Birthday Celebrations:
There are few taboos which are strictly forbidden in celebrating birthdays in China.
Chinese celebrate their birthday either before date or on actual birth date. Belated birthday is considered as taboo.
Certain birthdays are also forbidden depending upon gender. Like women do not celebrate the birthday of 30, 33 or 66 because year 30 is considered as the year of uncertainty and damage, so for avoiding bad luck, Chinese women remain 29 for an extra year.
Similarly, bad luck of age 33 can be avoided by buying a piece of meat hiding it behind a kitchen door and chop 33 times as a symbol of cutting all evil spirits into it then throw the piece of meat away.
For the age of 66 women is dependent upon her daughter or close family relative to repeat the similar act of avoiding bad luck and chop meat for 66 times on her behalf.
Same as Chinese women, Chinese men avoid 40th birthday by skipping this number of bad luck and remain 39 until their 41st birthday.
Birthday celebration Cake Is Not As Important As Traditional bowl Of Longevity Noodles;
As in West birthday celebrations incomplete without cutting cake Similarity, In China eating a bowl of longevity noodles is compulsory. Your mind probably asking do they celebrate their birthday without cutting the cake? Now the answer is not always. They cur cakes too.
But they are more careful of slurping longevity noodles without biting them off as it symbolizes the long life and breaking them is like risking cutting your own life short.
Res dyed hard-boiled eggs and dumplings are also included in the birthday banquet as the symbol of happiness and good fortune.
Birthday Dinner Is A Treat From Them:
Chinese people are very generous people in terms of giving treats. If you have a Chinese friend and celebrating his/her birthday in the restaurant then you will witness your luck that your Chinese friend will follow his/her tradition and treating you to dinner.
Although it seems quite weird to accept a treat from a person who should be receiving treat or presents. But it is normal for Chinese people to pay the bill on his/her birthday, no matter how large the gathering may be.
So relax and enjoy the birthday celebrations of your Chinese friend on his/her own expense but do not forget to reciprocate on your birthday. It is ethics.
Gifting Etiquettes Are Must To Follow In China:
There are a few etiquettes that you must follow before giving a birthday gift to your fellow.
- It is the part of Chines tradition to decline the gift whereas the giver has to insist a little more. So if you face this situation take it as part of the tradition. Do not consider as an insult.
- Another tradition related to gift is recipients never unwrap gift immediately in front of you, as it considers they are giving more importance to the gifts rather a person.
- The gift must be wrapped well. It is not good to give the gifts in market bags. Similarly, these wraps colors also indicate different meanings such as red gift wrapping with golden ribbon is a sign of good luck. Red wrapping is usually done on wedding occasions, white or black wrapping for funerals and good and silver is for wedding events.
- Choose your gift wisely, it will be appreciated if you gift anything useful such as wine, tea, etc.
- There are few taboos which you must avoid while choosing a gift, for example,
Do not use red ink while writing a greeting card as it considers a symbol of deification. Do not dare to give a clock or watch as it symbolizes reminding death to them. Similarly, food took as poverty.
Necklace, ties or belts are too personal to give normal friends, these are actually for girlfriend or boyfriend