Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Chinese Droology

Max has major drooling problem. According to my mother's ancient Chinese beliefs, it is due to the fact that when I was carrying him I did not get to have all that I craved for (To her, the demands, especially for food, of a pregnant woman is to be taken seriously). Hence, the baby drools a lot when teething. Yeah, now that I am repeating this, I am just so tickled and can't stop shaking my head to myself, but when she first mentioned it I just looked at her with the you've-gotta-be-kidding look. She said that is why there is a Chinese custom to stop the babies from drooling when they are four months old. She did it with us (her 5 children), and yes, there are photos to prove she did it.

Today is Max's 1st birthday by the Chinese Lunar calender. So my mother said it would be a significant day to do the "Stop the Drool" custom. So here is what you are suppose to do:

String some biscuits with a red thread (8,10 or12 pieces of plain round biscuits i.e. marie or wheatameal) and let the baby wear it round his neck. Then every adult in the house/relatives present is suppose to break a piece off from him, wipe his mouth with it and say, "Keep the drool," and enjoy munching the biscuit. So we did that in Ah Mah's house today. I giggled. So did the other two grandmas. Well, it was an auspicious event. After that we went out for a late lunch at 2.30pm, and we ordered a whole drumstick and mee shua for Max. These are the usual Hokkien birthday food. The only thing missing was red eggs. Max took the the first bite of both, then Micah and I ate the rest.

Later that evening I made a couple of red eggs and grandpa did the mouth wiping with the biscuit. Daddy had a dinner appointment, so the rest if us ate the rest of the biscuits on the string, including Max. It was a happy day.

When it comes to comes to customs and traditions there are times there is just no logic to it. But I love symbolisms and rituals and customs. So as long as there are no religious clashes I will just enjoy the richness and the silliness of it all.

Happy Birthday, Max, and happy walking!!


Minni said...

What a gross custom - eating drooly biscuits.. yukk!! Ha ha, I can't believe you guys did that. So... did it work???

Kathie "Moomykin" Yeoh said...

Looks like it did not, Minni.Max is as drooly as ever,especially when he is concentrating on play.