Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby Full Moon Celebration in Malaysia

Last week, brother in-law asked if we could attend a cousin's baby full moon (满月)celebration at his house in KL. Curious, yesterday afternoon my husband and I drove to KL and followed his family and parents to pay a visit.

I was intrigued to find out more how the Chinese community in Malaysia celebrates baby full moon. I trust it was going to be quite different from how we do it in Indonesia, now and then. When I was smaller, usually to celebrate baby full moon, the new parents would distribute a box of assorted mini short cakes to friends and relatives. Nowadays, the trend has slightly changed. People would distribute cute pink or blue cake or cupcakes or other cute baby stuff in a perky packaging to friends and relatives. A card stating the baby's name, date of birth, optional baby photo and parents' details would be attached in the box too.

I didn't know that new parents in Malaysia would throw a banquet at their house or other premises to celebrate their baby full moon. No baby hamper distributed. I did a bit of reading on Chinese custom on baby full moon. It marks the baby's first month of her/his life and the end of the new Mum's confinement period. Usually, both baby and mother would be formally introduced to extended family and friends for the first time on this very day.

Today's modern full moon party runs full-fledged catered event with a buffet spread for the guests hosted at the parent's home or booked venue at a hotel or restaurant. Yesterday evening, we had it at the parent's condominium function room.

The one-month old baby under the spotlight: Baby Genevieve.

Once we arrived, we came to see the baby first at the parents' unit upstairs, had real good look on the baby and made comments on whether the baby looks more like her Dad or her Mom, chit chatted with the baby's grandparents and looked around the house. When the clock ticked 7pm, the baby was kept upstairs with her grand parents whilst the guests and her parents went downstairs to the decorated function room to enjoy the buffet.

The buffet.

From my reading, traditional cakes like ang ku kueh and red dyed eggs would be served to symbolize luck and blessing. I did find a basket full of home made red eggs at the banquet yesterday but didn't see any ang ku kueh. Another finding from a source in internet mentions that eggs are served since they represent fertility and their round shapes symbolise harmony. It is believed that if we have a boy, we shall give out an odd number of eggs and if we have a girl, we give out an even number of eggs. I don't know why and didn't do any eggs counting either at the party yesterday so I can't confirm on this.

The symbolic red eggs served at the banquet.

Xin Thong and me after dining.

The girls, Er Sao and me in front of the function room.

The jolly auntie with her new grand daughter.

Me saying good bye to the baby.

Very interesting culture. I really did not have any idea that catering companies in Malaysia could benefit from baby full moon celebrations. I thought only bakeries could do some business out of this baby tradition. Seemingly these days, on some cases, cakes for baby full moon packages are deemed unnecessary once the baby full moon party is thrown.

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