Baby’s 100 Days Past to Present In Brief
Why baby’s 100 days celebration? How is it practised traditionally in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea?
How are the millennials driving the evolution of this special day? We are about to find out in this article.
As far as mathematics is concerned, various cultures have considered that 100 is a number of great significance. For example, 100 is the basis of percentages, and per cent literally means ‘per hundred’ in Latin. On the Celsius scale, 100 degrees is the boiling point of pure water at sea level. Many currencies use 100 subunits to make 1 unit, for instance, one Hong Kong dollar is one hundred cents and one pound sterling is one hundred pence. And let’s not forget, a child who scores 100 in a school assessment is often referred to ‘getting the perfect score!’
This powerful number, which construes the meaning of perfection, wholeness and milestone, has long been associated with baby’s birth in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean culture. It is traditionally believed that the first 100 days after the child’s birth is the most vulnerable period for both the mother and the newborn, therefore, they are advised to stay home to avoid contracting diseases. This is why making through the first 100 days is the perfect time to celebrate.
In traditional Chinese culture, prayers and food will be offered to the ancestors together with the burning of incense to wish the baby’s good health and protection from the spirits. Some families will shave the baby’s head while some have already replaced the ritual by the snipping of a lock of hair. Families will share red eggs and pickled ginger, while relatives and friends will offer 100-day baby gifts, clothing, tiger shoes and hats for the baby (which symbolises good health and energy) and accessories such as the longevity pendant and bracelets for wrists and ankles.
In Japan, babies celebrate their 100 days of birth at the first eating ceremony called ‘Okuizome’, in which a baby will have various types of food, including rice, soup, fish, boiled vegetables, and a stone placed to their lips to symbolise good gastronomic luck and strong, hard teeth. It is also a tradition for the oldest person in the family to ‘feed’ the baby, possibly symbolising longevity.
In Korea, 100 days celebration is known as ‘Baek-il’. A family would traditionally pray and give food offerings such as rice and sea mustard soup to thank the Shaman spirit. Some rice cakes are placed within the house according to the four main compass directions so that the baby would be protected. Some families will also share steamed rice cakes with 100 people, particularly family, relatives and friends, in exchange for the baby’s good health and longevity.
Modern baby’s 100 days celebrations have been gaining momentum in recent years in Singapore and Hong Kong, mainly driven by millennials aged 25 to 32. Because millennials are less bound by traditions, their baby’s 100 days celebrations allow far more flexibility and creativity than before. Venues are no longer restricted to one’s home, but range from cafés to playrooms to restaurants to hotel ballrooms. Food preference has also become more westernised, typically involving canapés, cute cartoony pastries and large custom-made cake. Other increasingly important additions include helium balloons, personalised banners, balloon artists, magicians, etc. However, it is also noticeable that the traditional style of celebration is making a comeback in the form of modern-traditional hybrid, thanks to the roots-searching millennials.
All in all, when it comes to creating the most unforgettable memory on this perfect day, to mark the baby’s first of many firsts, the modern parents will continue to explore creative ideas that will continue to drive the evolution of this perfect day.
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