Words and Tibits
on Chinese Customs

By: Stella Fong

The Celebration of Life
Red Eggs and Ginger

    Fertililty, birth, prosperity and life.
    To build a family is a job for husband and wife.
    Eat nuts and seeds, and fertility will reside.
    For birth will soon follow, bringing parenthood to your side.

    Mother must stay warm,
    For she must not eat or drink cold or the child within will be harmed.
    Flat comfortable shoes, she must wear,
    For now, the child is growing and its birth is near.

    Rejoice, celebrate, for a new life has entered the world.
    In traditional Chinese times, many joys for a boy, and less for a girl.
    In the days that follow, mother must recuperate,
    In a soup of pig's feet and sweet dark vinegar she must partake.
    For the calcium from the pig bones will make her strong.
    Simmer the bones with ginger and hard boiled eggs, and she will not be wronged.

    For eggs give mother protein and ginger makes her blood flow,
    Bringing health back to mom, letting her glow.
    Chicken soup with wood ears, ginger, wine, and peanuts will help mother heal,
    But can also be served to guest who visit for a light meal.

    In a month, a red egg party must be thrown,
    To formally welcome the little one to life, its new home.
    Eggs, symbolizing fertility are boiled hard,
    Then dyed red, for good luck will surely be in the child's charge.

    Honor and respect does age bring,
    So a child born is already 1-year-old and growing.
    Shower the child with money in red envelopes," lai-sees,"
    And prosperous, wealthy, and successful the child's future will be.

    Birth will carry on the family name.
    For a family is strong in playing life's game.
    With children by your side, you will be assured,
    Of prosperity and never of being poor.
    Your children will comfort and care for you in your old age.
    Celebrate the birth of a child, for now joy and prosperity will fill all your days.

Email your comments to: Stella Fong

She teaches Asian style cooking classes to adults and children in Southern California.

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