The Egg and the Name

Background #

Having a baby anywhere around the world is a joyous occasion, however none do it quite as big as the Chinese. The Chinese host a baby naming ceremony called the Red Egg and Ginger Party. Friends and relatives are all invited to the event where proud parents introduce their new born baby to everyone. This is also where newborn baby boys and girls get their Chinese names.

Guests that attend these Red Egg and Ginger Parties bring gifts to shower the latest addition to the lucky family. Lucky money called "lai si" (利是) is often given to baby boys while baby girls get showered with expensive jewelry. Generous guests don’t leave empty handed either as the new parents hand out red dyed eggs that symbolize happiness and the renewal of life.

First Month Party #

The baby naming ceremony has been an important part of Chinese culture throughout its history. Although it is not as widely practiced now as in traditional times. Many Chinese families still widely celebrate the birth of their baby boy or girl this way. The first month party (满月) is to mark the first month of life and underscores the uncertainty surrounding the child’s early existence. These parties have their origins from ancient times when infant mortality rates were extremely high. Any child who was able to reach the one month threshold was considered likely to survive. This meant that celebrations were in order.

Milk Name #

The first item on the list of these Red Egg and Ginger Ceremonies was to pick a Chinese name for the baby. It is up to the family to choose if the given name at the party will be the child’s formal name or a milk name. The milk name is a nickname given to the baby which is used until the child starts school. If a milk name is chosen, a girl’s name is often given for a boy because it was though that a baby boy was a “special prey” for evil spirits and that if the baby boy was given a girl’s name, these spirits would be tricked.

Formal Name #

When a formal Chinese name is to be chosen, the name goes through a rigorous selection process that is based on the child’s birth profile. Important criteria for the Chinese name is that it must be harmonious in sound and meaning. It is common to see families naming their children using a similar character to indicate a specific lineage. Although the grandparents are usually bestowed the honor of naming the baby boy or baby girl, a fortune teller is often approached for help in this regard. A good fortune teller will select a name that makes up for any deficiencies that the baby boy or girl may have in its spiritual make up that includes the Five elements: wood, fire, water, earth and metal. It is considered necessary for the survival of the child to have a good and proper Chinese name that is aligned to their birth profile. These superstitions have been handed down through generations and are still widely believed by the Chinese population.

After the name is chosen, parents of the newborn baby sent out invitations to friends and relatives to celebrate the birth of the child. The invited guests are sent a hard boiled egg dyed red informing them of the upcoming festivities. In present day celebrations, these brightly colored eggs are placed on the table and guests may take one home for good luck.

Take Away #

The Chinese take this baby naming ceremony very seriously as they believe Chinese names play a huge part in a baby boy or baby girl’s life. Many traditional parents and grandparents believe that choosing a proper Chinese name is their number one priority when it comes to having a baby. For more information about how to name your child or to consult a fortune teller you may visit (GetChineseNames)[] which is an excellent resource that educates the general public about selecting a name that makes up for any deficiencies that your newborn baby might have and how to come up with a good and proper Chinese name that is aligned to their birth profile.

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