In the course of a child’s life, the first milestone and the most important one would be the child’s first month or full moon or mǎnyuè(满月). But why? Back in the olden days, when infant mortality is common; reaching a month old in good health meant that the child survived and is often cause for celebration for the whole community. Friends and family will then be invited to the full moon celebration. As thanks for their attendance, guests are usually presented with red-dyed eggs. Red represents prosperity & happiness and the rounded shape of the eggs represents harmony & new life.
While there may be slight variations in various countries with high Chinese populations, Malaysian Chinese usually gift close friends and family with box of red eggs, ‘angku’ (red glutinous rice cakes), ‘nasi kunyit’ (yellow glutinous rice) and some chicken curry. This variation of a full moon gift originates from ‘Nyonya’ cuisine. A fusion of Chinese and Malay/Java culture that has its roots during Malaya’s colonial period.
One might say that full moon gifts are a little old fashion, but there is worth in sharing the joy of your newborn. Just as the African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In this world today, a spark of joy is worth sharing and very much welcomed. Especially among friends and family. A full moon gift doesn’t have to be overly expensive but it just needs to have the necessary red eggs and some extra items to introduce your bundle of joy.
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