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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Baby's Full Moon

Baby Shower Cookies
While decorating these cookies for a friend's 'Full Moon', I was thinking how times have changed! Full Moon gift boxes I receive these days from friends and relatives comprise cupcakes and cookies unlike the traditional red eggs, pickled ginger and angkoos we used to give out and receive. If you are clueless about what that is, a full moon is a ceremony held to celebrate a baby's first full month of life when he/she turns one month old. In Chinese, full moon literally translates as  full month.
According to custom, gift packs consisting of red eggs, angkoos, yellow rice, curry and pickled ginger are distributed to relatives and friends as proclamation that a new member has been added to the family. A party is usually held and visitors arrive bearing gifts for the baby.

Every item in this basket has a symbolic meaning
image credit - http://www.foodpromotions.com.my/2009/02/nyonya-restaurant-baby-full-moon-gift.html
Hard-boiled eggs with their shells dyed red symbolize prosperity and fertility
Angkoo ( literally translates as red tortoise cake ) represents the baby's gender. Plain for males and textured for females, this red sweet cake is made out of mung beans and glutinous rice flour and shaped into a little tortoise. Tortoise symbolizes long life, strength and persistence.
Rice to ensure that there will always be food on the table


A modern-day Full Moon gift box with the obligatory red eggs
A full moon party is kinda like a western baby shower, only celebrated a month after the baby's birth. It also marks the last day of confinement for the new mom. The confinement period is a traditional post-natal Asian practice and is so called because the post-partum  mom and baby are 'quarantined' at home for a one-month period, hence the word 'confinement'. Traditionally, they do not receive visitors apart from close family members until the confinement period is over. You wouldn't want to visit them during that time either, trust me! Chances are, the new mom hasn't washed her hair for an entire month. You can read about that here.
So a full-moon gift box is essentially an announcement by the proud parents of the birth of their newborn and an invitation to friends, relatives and co-workers to welcome the arrival of the baby. Hubby calls that a 'summon' as the receiver of the gift box will then be obliged to visit the newborn bearing gifts!

For more information about the taboos and practices during the confinement period , read here

10 comments:

betty said...

I like the concept of a full moon. I think it is really good that it is encouraged not to visit a new mom and baby for that first month (unless very close family). Moms and babies and dads need that time to bond and try to figure out some type of a schedule. I do remember those days when hubby would come home for lunch and I would still be in my pajamas :)

So cute of cookies!

betty

alissa apel said...

I decided to have a full moon party when I had my boys. I decided to do that for my co-workers. They got to see the baby, and have yummy food. With my 2nd I asked them not to bring a gift.

Hena Tayeb said...

that is so interesting.. what a great idea. thanks for sharing.

Jas said...

I love the details on those cookies! Wow, you put so much time into it, I know how hard it is to decorate. And I love reading different traditions. Thanks for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things and hope you have an amazing weekend!

Claire Reichert said...

Wow - I had no idea that was something that was done, I love learning about new cultures,and this is really cool. Thanks for sharing :)

Rebecca Hope said...

This is so interesting. I have never heard of this before. Only just a baby shower. But I think this is so cool!!! I'm so glad you shared.

Rashida said...

Wow! I've never heard of a full moon! I really love that concept.

Jessica Groesbeck said...

I LOVE that concept! I will definitely keep that tradition in mind if we ever have another little one. I was so overwhelmed at how many people wanted to see Pemberley when she was first born, and I regret not spending more alone time with her when she was a tiny little thing.

As always, your cookies are adorable! :)

Samantha Quan said...

I'm trying to plan a Reg Egg Ginger for my son right now so this post gave me some great ideas. Also, I was born in Malaysia so small world that you found me on MBC. XO-Sam

Fook Tseng said...

Times have changed. So do how we celebrate our Birthdays, Anniversary and of course Baby Fullmooon as well.

We are one of the last one standing to promote traditional and authentic Nasi Kunyit(Turmeric Glutinous Rice) with Curry Chicken, Angkoo and Red Eggs in a package. We feel that the Nyonya tradition should be inculcated. Otherwise 600 years of culture will be lost.

Every single food element mentioned above carries some form of significant meaning. Red eggs signify birth and happiness, Angkoo signify longevity and Nasi Kunyit with Curry Chicken signify abundance.

For more info, check out at http://www.fooktseng.com/full-moon-packages/

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