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A Typical Chinese Birthday Bash

Some people even believe that the number of strokes in a name has a lot to do with a person's fate. So, when a child is named, the number of strokes in the name is also taken into account.

Some parents prefer to use a character from an eminent person's name, hoping that their child will inherit that person's nobility and greatness. Characters with noble and encouraging connotations are also among some of the top choices. Some parents inject their own desires into their children's names. When they want to have a boy, for example, they may name their girl Zhaodi, which means "expecting a brother."

The Chinese traditional way of counting one's age is different from the Western way. In China, people take the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year as the starting point. No matter in which month a child is born, he or she is one year old at this time, and one more year is added as soon as he or she enters the New Year. It is very puzzling for Westerners when a child turns two years old when he or she is actually two days or just two hours old. This can occur when a child is born on the last day or hour of the previous year.

The first important event for the newly born baby is the one-month celebration. Among Buddhist or Taoist families, on the morning of the baby's 30th day, sacrifices are offered to the gods so that the gods will protect the baby in his or her subsequent life. Ancestors are also informed of the arrival of a new member to the family. According to custom, relatives and friends receive gifts from the child's parents. The types of gifts vary from place to place, but eggs dyed red are usually a must both in the city and countryside. Red eggs are chosen as gifts since they are the symbol of change in life; their round shape also symbolizes a harmonious and happy life. Eggs are dyed red because red represents happiness in Chinese culture. Besides eggs, cakes, chickens and hams are also often given as gifts. As during the Spring Festival, gifts are always given in even numbers.

During the celebration, relatives and friends of the family will also give some presents that the child may use, such as food, daily necessities, or gold or silverware. But the most common gift is money wrapped in a piece of red paper. Grandparents usually give their grandchildren a gold or silver item to show their deep love for the child. In the evening, the child's parents prepare a rich feast at home or go to a restaurant to celebrate.
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