In the olden days, Chinese families celebrate birthday without birthday cakes nor candles.
Every family of different religion has a traditional way to celebrate one’s birthday in a unique practice.
In my family, my dad always celebrates birthday in a Chinese traditional ways that my grandmother had taught him.
- Boil 2 hard boil eggs.
- Simply dye the eggs into a bowl of red food coloring
- Whip up a bowl of noodles or misua soup
- Red coloring as red powder mixed with 1/3 bowl of water.
- Now, you can buy a small bottle of red food coloring to mix in jellies, beverages or cookies.
- Reasons for making Red Eggs
According to Chinese beliefs,
- An egg is a symbol of birth.
- 2 eggs comes in a pair which is even number.
- That is considered a good luck.
- Red is the auspicious color for every Chinese festivals on food or things.
- Red symbolize good luck and fortune.
- Red also signifies happiness as in Red packets (Ang Pow) and Fire crackers.
- thread noodle.
- My dad says that birthday person has to crack the egg shells and eat up both red eggs to be in luck.
2) Reasons for whipping up noodles
- Noodles comes in long strands.
- No breaks in the strands signify longevity.
- Misua is also known as mian xian, thin white fragile thread noodles made from flour.
- Noodles symbolize longevity, the person who makes the noodle soup wishes the birthday person to have a long life until he/she reaches the age of 100 or more.
- Since misua noodles are white in color, the birthday person who eats the noodle soup will live at a very long age with white hairs too.
- I love my dad’s special recipe; a bowl of Chicken flavored Misua Soup with Mustard Greens and Minced meat.
3) Red Packets ( Ang Pow)
This is an optional practice.
The older folks in the household, be it the parents, married siblings or grandparents, would give the birthday person an Ang Pow which is the red packet as a symbol of fortune and wealth. Of course, money is wealth!
Red packets are only given to single, bachelor or spinster birthday person.
Nowadays, Red Packets are also given to older folk in the family who is celebrating his/her birthday in order to show the folk respect, filial and a token of appreciation.
Money is inserted into the Ang Pow which is in even numbers.
For example: $20, $28 $50, $88, $100
8 symbolize luck while zeros symbolize even, unity or a new life.
If my dad has extra pocket money, he would give me $28 Red Packet on my birthday.
Although traditional Chinese birthday food are plain and boring, these food brought a lot of sweet memories as I grew older.
Question: How do you celebrate your birthday in traditional way?
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