Year of the Dragon: Time to have a baby


I know what your thinking….No .. I’m not having a baby… but it seems everyone in China is having one this year.   Yes, most people in China want to have a baby this year so their child will have the sign of the Dragon; which means they will be strong, successful, health and rich.  Who doesn’t want that for their kid?  However, the strange things these people do when they are pregnant…. I am sometimes amazed at the thinking.

Chinese woman in radio active protection dress

Here is a list of some of the crazy things Chinese women do when they are pregnant because .. well .. it is tradition and they have always done it.

1) When you are with child you must cut your hair to chin length.  This is because your hair will take power away from the baby and you don’t want your baby to be born weak.

2)Chinese women believe that everything she does influences the baby so no more watching tv, using cell phones, using microwaves, or computers.  You just might end up with a baby with half an arm or missing a limb altogether.

3)When your carrying your child you must always guard your thoughts you don’t want to influence the baby.  So, that means no loud laughing, no losing your temper, no gossiping and no wearing of loud colors or clashing colors.  You must read positive things and romantic poetry while falling asleep.

4) Sex is forbidden once you are pregnant.  None of that while the baby is in there, you might influence him or her to be sex crazed or worse they might see.

5) You must always eat light-colored foods.  why? So your baby will have light skin of course.  You want your baby to be as white as possible so don’t eat those darker colored foods.   (wow… so that is how you do it… shaking head slowly from side to side)

6)She must never attend funerals when pregnant and always have knives under the bed to scare away evil spirits.  You can’t have those from beyond hurting your unborn child.

7)It is unlucky to throw a baby shower before the baby is born.  You must wait until your bundle of joy is here before you can have a shower.  Oh.. and by the way did you know that in China when a baby is born they are a year old?  yeah.. I know.. I have tried to explain that you don’t carry the child in your stomach for a year but they don’t see the logic.

8) You cannot pick the name before the baby is born.   This is bad luck you must wait until the birth and see the time and date of birth before you can choose a name. It must be choosen regarding to the birth sign.

9)After the child is born the mother must “sit the month.” This means for a month after the child is born the mother can’t leave the bed.  She can’t watch tv, wash her hair or body, can’t use computer, and  can’t listen to music.  She must sleep and regain her strength, sometimes even the husband can’t see her.  Her parents or a family member take care of the baby.  She can’t do anything not even sure if she is allowed to think.

10) The first 100 days of the baby are very important. On the morning of the third day, a Chinese baby gets her first bath. The midwife officiates this ceremony which is attended by female friends and relatives.  The baby’s biggest celebration is at one month when the mother’s allowed out of her room and can see the child. Family and friends dine and celebrate all night. Money is given in bright red envelopes and the baby wears a silver or gold padlock around his neck locking the child to this world.

On the hundredth day some Chinese families host another celebration. Friends and family bring fish and chicken to the child’s home. When the chicken is cooked, the tongue is rubbed on the baby’s lips to make the child a good talker. Traditionally, the child’s first birthday is also celebrated with a large feast and offerings to the gods and goddesses. Parents also place a variety of objects in a basket — a pen, silver, official seal, needlework and some toys — and offer the basket to the child. The object the baby grabs signifies the child’s future.

The day he walks, a relative walks behind him with a knife drawing three lines on the ground. The Chinese believe there are invisible bindings around a child’s ankles binding him to a previous life. With the bindings cut, the child walks freely forever.

There are many other strange things they believe like the mother having to eat pigs feet, rubbing the child with a boiled egg, and cutting the baby’s hair all off at one year.

All traditions and customs  most Chinese women are forced to follow due to the pressure of older generation women in their family.   Sometimes, I can’t help but laugh at some of the traditions (although that pissed some of them off) They ask me … don’t we do those things when we have a baby?  I say .. nope.. we just do things we normally do.. and they are shocked to death when we say.. we only stay in the hospital for a few days then go home. They stay in the hospital weeks before the baby is born. They always get C-sections.  The doctors here think it is safer.  They have a heart attack when they hear we take care of our own babies and not just hand them over to our parents.

Customs and traditions are different all over the world and you have to respect what other people believe.  However, rubbing an egg all over your baby..?  Come on…. Sometimes common sense needs to step in.

until next time…

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14 thoughts on “Year of the Dragon: Time to have a baby

  1. Pingback: Warm hearts and kindred spirits | Inside the Middle Kingdom

  2. Charlotte

    I’m first generation Chinese-Canadian. I’m expecting my first child and my mother is very old fashioned and superstitious. She told me not to do almost everything you have on your list, she even told me I’m not allowed to have duck because its poison and it’ll be my fault if my baby has bad skin. Yet she doesn’t see any issues with me eating seafood including shark fin soup and some other disgusting traditional foods eg. birds nest (which is essentially spit from a bird) She stressed me out so badly to the point where I had to tell her to leave me alone because she was the one making my baby unhealthy from all the stress. She finally backed off but called me ungrateful and disobedient. Maybe I just don’t understand the tradition and not that I’m turning away from my culture but this is my body and my first baby I think I’m much more comfortable following my OB’s directions than some unfounded old wives tales.

  3. It is no longer like that in the big cities with the exception of resting for a month. My relatives who gave birth did it but they watched TV, played with iPads and what not. It is supposed to be the time where the mom rests to get her energy back from giving birth.

    Love your blog by the way.

  4. Pingback: Yeah, But I Am Not Chinese! « Life Behind The Wall

  5. soccernorsk

    having had a baby in China as a westerner, I also learned about a lot of these customs. i was even offered by a friend’s mom to come and be my caregiver for the month! I said no thanks, my mom is coming… I think it varies quite a bit, depending on how traditional/strict the mother in law is (my neighbor said she would take a shower each time her mom left to go to the market). i do actually think most chinese women try to breastfeed for a while–their maternity leave is about 5 months before they head back to work. very fun post having lived through a lot of this!!

  6. xl

    Well as far as the long hospital stays, it’s because it costs next to nothing to stay overnight in the hospital. If healthcare were as expensive as it is in American, those stays would only be 2-3 days too. Also, C-sections are the preferred method of delivery because obstetricians in China do not use epidurals. (they get a morphine drip but that’s not as helpful as epidurals)

  7. Persephone

    #5 Makes me side eye. I also couldn’t imagine not seeing my child for a 100 days and I would be craving a shower all the time. C-sections seem so painful. But it’s always interesting to hear about different culture’s customs.

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