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Traditions Around the World for Baby’s First Birthday

Posted on June 11 2016

Traditions Around the World for Baby’s First Birthday

You’ve baked a smash cake and crafted the brightest decorations, your baby’s closest family and friends are ready to sing, and your almost-walking baby is looking oh so adorable in his glittery birthday hat.  Happy 1st birthday, Baby!

Here are some ways your little one would have been celebrated around the world:

Children are honored with an Otonan celebration highlighting the first moment their feet are allowed to touch the ground on their 210th day of life.  Children are treasured as divine beings descending from the heavens and this transition to earth is symbolic of their human completion.

Hindu children have their head shaved on their first birthday as a symbol to cleanse and refresh them from any past lives’ transgressions. It is called a Mundan ceremony. The child is blessed in the shrine and then celebrated alongside close family and friends.

The 1st, 5th, 10th, and 15th birthdays are traditionally most significant, and to highlight the importance everyone the family knows (often hundreds of people!) is invited to a HUGE feast to celebrate the baby’s first birthday.

A Zhuazhou is a gathering of the baby’s closest family members.  The baby is presented with toys and gifts symbolic of its destined future.  Whatever the baby chooses first represents the interests and career path he or she may take.  (ie ruler as engineer, pen as writer, brush as artist, etc).  The guests are served extra long noodles with the meal to represent the child’s extra long life. Tigers are also thought to be a symbol of protection and guests often bring tiger themed gifts to strengthen that.

A pinata filled with sweets is cracked above the baby’s head to symbolize all the blessings God will bestow upon the child.

Japanese one-year-olds wear a specially prepared mochi (sweet rice cake) on their backs weighing up to 6lbs.  As the child adjusts to his weight throughout the celebration Issho Mochi, the parents (softly) knock them over to prepare the child for the ups and downs of life.