Full Moon Celebration and a Baby’s First Haircut

Written by Tom Booth

The World of Baby Haircuts

A baby’s first haircut is a significant event in many different cultures from around the world and is treated with great reverence. In Hinduism hair is considered as carrying undesirable traits from previous life, and is shaved during an odd month of the first or third year of the baby’s life. Muslim babies have their first haircut much earlier when they are only seven days old. It is regarded as an act of cleansing, preparing the baby for a life as a good Muslim. 

In China, cutting a baby’s hair for the first time is also considered an important event for many families. Historically, high infant mortality due to poor nutrition and low levels of sanitation meant the early months of a baby’s life were thought of as the most pivotal in determining whether he or she would live a long and healthy life. A baby’s first haircut is both a celebration of the birth and the survival of the baby during this fragile period.

A Chinese baby having his head shaved – looking trim!

The Party

A baby’s first haircut traditionally occurs at a ‘Full Moon Party.’ This celebration marks that a full month, or a ‘full moon’, has passed since the baby’s birth, and so the baby is now ready for his or her first trim. Some families celebrate in lavish style with lots of decorations, expensive food and entertainment aplenty, while others prefer to have a smaller, more intimate celebration where the baby receives the full focus of everyone’s attention.

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Tables laid out for a Full Moon Party – notice the usage of red objects?

Full Moon Parties are almost always dominated by the colour red. Red is traditionally used at family gatherings and holidays as it is thought to symbolise good fortune and happiness. It is thought that by surrounding the baby with red the family can guarantee a future life of good luck and joy. Eggs, representing new life, are dyed red and given to guests. Guests are also offered pickled ginger, which was traditionally fed to the new mother to help bring the body back into balance after childbirth. Gifts of lucky money placed inside red envelopes are commonly given to the family of the new baby.

Red Eggs and Ginger
A plate of dyed red eggs and pickled ginger – sure to guarantee health and happiness!

The Haircut

The baby, pride of place at the centre of the celebration, will also often wear a beautifully designed red babygrow. He or she will be introduced by the proud mother and father, who may also take this opportunity to introduce the child’s name for the first time. This is also an occasion where the mother is re-introduced to the family. Traditionally the first month after birth is a ‘sitting month’ where mothers spent one month in confinement, drinking medicinal soups and resting in order to regain strength following childbirth.

The hair of the baby then cut. This is traditionally done by a family member. The process is quick and painless but is evidently quite traumatic for some!

A pair of babies having their first haircut – not quite in the party mood!

A portion of the hair is then taken by the family and tied in a red ribbon to be kept as a keep safe. It is hoped that by trimming the child’s hair it will grow back thicker and darker than before, and will stay with the child until he is much older.

While this is the general process of the Full Moon Party, China is a very large country and so different customs exist in different areas. Some families always leave a tuft of hair on their baby’s head as it is thought to prevent the baby’s soul for escaping the body. Others take the hair and use it to make a special calligraphy brush. Others conclude the ceremony by having mother and baby bathe together with pomelo leaves to wash away evil spirits.

A Story About Courage And Love: Mulan, Origin Of The Myth

Written by Maria Giglio

Are you a big fan of Disney movies? I am and will never feel too old to freshen up some Classic from time to time. Mulan is no exception. 

About 20 years ago, way before Kung Fu Panda, another Chinese warrior broke into the movie scene, Mulan.  

As for many other movies, Disney takes inspiration from a folk legend for the script, the Chinese epic poem named Ballad of Mulan

The Ballad dates back to 500 A.D. but only became popular after its transposition in written texts during the late Ming. Just like in the movie, the story talks about a girl, Mulan, who goes to war disguised as a man.  

In a time when enemies are threatening invasion at the Chinese border, the Emperor calls for one male for each family to join the army. The call is not refutable.  

In the Hua family, the only man eligible is Mulan’s father Hu, since the other male, Mulan’s brother is just a kid. Hu is a decorated veteran, though too weak and old to survive. Concerned with her father’s fate, Mulan decides to replace her father and secretly leaves to join the army, pretending to be a man.

Incredibly smart and brave, not only Mulan succeeds to deceive her comrades until the end, but she also proves to be an excellent fighter and most of all a brilliant war strategist. 

Thanks to her skills, Mulan gains the respect of the Commander in chief and becomes his closest adviser, leading soon Chinese Army to victory. 

To show gratitude to Mulan the Commander offers her his daughter’s hand, thus forcing Mulan to reveal her real identity: possibly the most beautiful woman in China, whose beauty is only second to her braveness.

With Mulan release, Disney was trying to promote a brand-new idea of woman, thus breaking with a long tradition of harmless princesses waiting for rescue. In Mulan, the message is particularly powerful, since the story itself tracks the change of Mulan’s condition from innocent girl to strong woman. Rather than a dragon surrounding her tower, this new kind of woman has a dragon as a pet!

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Children’s shoes with Tiger’s Heads

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Tiger-headed shoes are an example of traditional Chinese folk crafts. These children’s shoes, made from a variety of soft fabrics, feature a tiger at the front of the shoe and embroidered soles. Their name comes from the from the front part of the shoe that looks like the head of a tiger. In northern China, people also refer to them as “cat-headed shoes”. Wearing these brightly colored cloth shoes which all have such special designs is a traditional custom for young Chinese people and symbolizes good fortune.

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In Chinese culture, tigers are considered auspicious, so women embroider the vamp of the shoe in the shape of a tiger, hoping that their children will become as strong and vibrant as this animal. In addition, the bright image of the tiger’s head has been thought to chase away evil spirits and to protect children from diseases or disasters in their lives. It is a complicated job to make tiger-headed shoes and it requires a lot of delicate work like embroidery and weaving, especially on the very front of the shoe. The main part of the shoe is largely red and yellow and the craftsmen generally use thick lines to draw the outline of the mouth, the eyebrows, the nose and the eyes of the tiger to express its power in an exaggerated way.

 

Tancheng County, Linyi, Shandong Province (East China),2017. Zhao Kaiying, 85, has been making tiger-headed shoes for more than 20 years.

 

These shoes, offered to the child from an early age, present a tiger head in the front of the vamp. As a guardian animal and devourer of demons, the tiger protects the child against evil spirits. Other symbols are also embroidered under the shoes.

The origins of the tiger-headed shoe have no historical records, but there are several popular legends about them. The following is one of the legends that would explain the origin of these shoes: a long time ago, there was a lady with skillful hands and good artistic taste. She was very good at embroidery, so that her child was always well dressed. One night a monster came to the village and took all the children except his son. From then on, people began to realize that the child’s shoes were decorated with a tiger’s head at their ends to scare the monster, leaving the child safe. As a result, people started to imitate this practice.

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In the eyes of the general public, the tiger is a robust and powerful animal with the title of “king of animals”. So when this animal is mentioned, it evokes in people the idea of ​​power and fear. As a result, some expressions about tiger, such as the roar of the tiger, the scary aspect of the tiger (Chinese: 虎威, pinyin: Huwei) or vigorous as a tiger (Chinese: 虎虎有生气, pinyin: huhuyoushengqi) were invented along with this culture.

 

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Kid’s Shoes with Tiger Head

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Tiger-headed shoes are an example of traditional Chinese folk crafts. These children’s fabric shoes feature a tiger at the tip and embroidered soles. Their name comes from their tip that looks like the head of a tiger. In northern China, people also call them “cat-headed shoes”. The wearing of these brightly colored cloth shoes with such special designs is a traditional custom for young Chinese people and symbolizes best wishes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Chinese culture, tigers are considered auspicious and women embroider the toe as well as the upper part of the tiger-shaped shoe, in the hopes that their children will become as robust and vibrant as this animal. In addition, the bright image of the tiger’s head has been thought to chase away evil spirits and to protect children from diseases and disasters. It is a complicated job to make tiger-headed shoes and it requires a lot of delicate work like embroidery and weaving, especially on the tip of the shoe. The upper part of the shoe is mainly red and yellow and the craftswomen generally use thick lines to draw the outline of the mouth, the eyebrows, the nose and the eyes of the tiger to express its power of an exaggerated way.

Tancheng County, Linyi, Shandong Province (East China), December 24, 2017. Zhao Kaiying, 85, has been making tiger-headed shoes for more than 20 years.

 

These shoes, offered to the child from an early age, depict the head of a tiger on the front of them. A guardian animal and devourer of demons, the tiger protects the child against evil spirits. Other symbols are also embroidered under the shoe.

The origins of the tiger-headed shoe are not known, but there are several popular legends about them. (already mentioned in the paragraph above). One legend regarding their origin suggests that a long time ago, there was a lady with skillful hands and common sense. She was very good at embroidery, so that her child was always well dressed. One night a monster came to the village and took all the children, except his son. From then on, people began to realize that the child’s shoes that were decorated with a tiger’s head at their ends scared the monster, leaving the child safe. As a result, people started to imitate this practice. In the eyes of the general public, the tiger is a robust and powerful animal with the title of “king of animals”. So, when the tiger is mentioned, it evokes in people the idea of ​​power and fear. As a result, tiger-like expressions, such as the roar of the tiger, the frightening appearance of the tiger (Chinese: 虎威, pinyin: Huwei) or strength of a tiger (Chinese: 虎虎 有 生气, pinyin: huhuyoushengqi) have taken shape in these crafts as part of this culture around the tiger.

 

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Miao Baby Customs: Childbirth and Child-rearing

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Written by John Murphy

Are you familiar with the culture of the Miao people? In the West, you may have heard of the Hmong people; the Hmong have the same roots as the Miao. Today I want to share with you the beliefs and customs the Miao people have toward regarding child-rearing and pregnancy. Long before a newborn baby leaves the mother’s womb, Miao parents consider many things about a newborn baby’s future. It is customary for Miao people not to widely discuss a pregnancy with others, fearing that if word gets out the baby is at risk to be harmed by evil spirits. So, it is common for an expecting Miao mother not to make any announcement until it is physically apparent that she is pregnant. During childbirth, mothers and mothers-in-law help out, while the father helps cut the umbilical cord and washes the newborn. Just like in the West, having a baby is a big event in a family’s life and requires participation from many members of the family.

Another belief prevalent among the Miao people, is that a child must be born on a “right” day in order to have an auspicious future. For the Miao, this means girls being born on even days (e.g. 2, 4), and boys being born on odd days (e.g. 1, 3). The Miao calendar follows a lunar cycle and begins with an odd day until 29 or 30 days, when it resets. The Miao people aren’t the only ones to follow the lunar calendar– in fact, all ethnic minorities in China celebrate their traditional holidays in accordance to the lunar calendar.

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But after a child is born, what is his or her future growing up in Miao society? Well, traditionally, the Miao people follow gender roles, where the man is expected to provide the material and spiritual needs for his family, and the woman is expected to raise the kids and maintain the household. Parents often hope for a male child because a son is able to continue the family line and provide sacrifices to ancestors, as well as take care of his aging parents. For spiritual reasons, Miao custom dictates parents are not allowed to live with a grown-up daughter and son-in-law, and so parents fear they will lack a sanctuary to reside in at old age if they do not have a son. This is why if a Miao woman’s first child is a male, it is said she has brought her family good fortune. Of course, times are changing, and we do not know what the future will look like in Miao society. It may seem like some of these traditional beliefs are limiting, but it is important to acknowledge the role of tradition in fleshing out culture. And it is clear that the culture of the Miao people is very fascinating. If this interests you, you can check out more information about the Miao people on the Interact China website, or in other posts on this blog!

 

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About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

How to wear Mei Tai Baby Carrier

For most people if they have never worn a mei tai or baby carrier it appears that the most tricky part is how to put on the carrier with the baby. For mothers of ethnic tribes living in China who use mei tai or baby carrier as their way of parenting, this task is considered as a natural motion and just another part of daily life. They do not seek and would certainly politely refuse any offer of assistance with this task.

The baby carrier is placed inside up either on the bed or any available safe surface. The baby is placed on the carrier, facing up. The mother tightly tucks the straps of the carrier into her right hand so that the baby is then securely wrapped in the carrier. Then she leans over dropping her left shoulder and with her right arm slings the baby and carrier over her left shoulder and onto her back. While still leaning over she very quickly secures the straps.

 

Step-by-step guide to wear a Chinese mei tai or baby carrier

Baby Carrier

1.Lay the carrier on a flat surface. Place the baby on the carrier so the top of the baby’s head is roughly even with the top of the carrier. Fold the soft bottom panel up over the baby’s feet.

Baby Carrier

2.Put the straps over your shoulders and cross them behind your back, so that each hand is holding the opposite strap.

Baby Carrier

3.Lean forward towards the baby, pulling on the straps and taking up the slack.

Baby Carrier

4.Pick up the baby and the carrier together and, while supporting the baby’s bottom, continue pulling the straps tight. (Don’t worry if the bottom panel becomes untucked at this stage.)

Baby Carrier

5.When the straps are comfortably snug around your shoulders, cross them in front of you, just under the baby’s bottom. Check to make sure the baby’s arms and hands are tucked inside the carrier and not twisted.

Baby Carrier

6.Keeping the tension on the straps to support the baby, wrap them around your waist and behind your back.

Baby Carrier

7.Tie the two straps together in a single knot behind your back…

Baby Carrier

8.and tie again to make a double knot. (The knot should be secure enough so it won’t come undone by itself, but not so tight that you can’t undo it!)

Baby Carrier

9.Reach in through the sides of the carrier and lift the baby up to make sure he or she is placed comfortably. Support the baby’s bottom with your hand and pull on the back of the carrier to settle the baby back into position. Check that the straps aren’t too tight, and adjust them so that they support the baby’s weight. (They should rest just under the baby’s bottom, so as not to place pressure on the baby’s back or knees.)

Baby Carrier

10.Check the position of the soft bottom panel. If it has come loose, tuck it back around baby’s feet to form a pocket between you and the baby. Check that the baby’s legs and feet are in a comfortable position.

Baby Carrier

11.Once the baby is settled, hook your thumbs through the shoulder straps and pull them down over your shoulder blades. This distributes the baby’s weight more evenly over your back.

Baby Carrier

12.Finished! The baby is held upright, with straight legs, but without taking any weight on his or her feet. The baby’s neck is supported as his or her head rests on the back of the carrier. (If you are walking fast, it helps to place one hand on the baby’s head so it doesn’t bounce with your footsteps.) The curved side panels sit snugly against your body, protecting the baby from the wind, and offering relative privacy if you need to feed the baby in public.

Baby Carrier

13.My son is now three months old, and he loves being able to peer over the edge of the carrier and watch what is going on. He feels very safe and secure there (though he can’t quite understand why we want to take all these photos of him, rather than taking him for a walk!)

Baby Carrier

14.The carrier also works well to rock the baby off to dreamland. This photograph was not purposely staged – by the time I had walked back into the house, he was sound asleep! If you untie the carrier carefully and support the baby against your chest as you pull the carrier away (don’t forget to untuck the bottom panel first) the baby will often stay sleeping peacefully long after you have stopped carrying him or her.

I hope you have found this guide useful, and that you get as much pleasure out of using your mei tai or baby carrier!

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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