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Wine at Dezhou (One Year Old) Rite

2020-03-19

When a child is one year old, a rite called Dezhou, or Naozhou in some parts of Shaoxing, will be held. This is such an important occasion that a grand banquet needs to be thrown, though the scale may vary from family to family due to financial reasons. In some cases, besides the banquets, the family may also invite over an opera troupe to put on some shows as a form of celebration. At the banquet, `zhuangyuan's red' or 'daughter's red' is indispensible. The good wishes embodied in the wine are obvious. After the banquet ends, in order to share their joy and bliss, the family will also treat their relatives, friends and neighbors with a large number of dezhou snacks made of rice or flour, such as rice cakes, Longevity Peaches, Longevity Noodles etc., sometimes with wine. Again, to mark this occasion, the maternal grandma's should send some wearable, among which there are, in particular, some `tiger-headed shoes' whose fronts are embroidered with the character 'wang` (or `king' ). It is believed that the image of the tiger, the king of beasts, possesses the power to ward off evil spirits. It also embodies the good wish that the child may live vigorously. According to Proverbs of Yue by Fan Yin, 'When the newly-born is 1 year old, representatives from the maternal grandmother's will be present with gifts.' Having received dezhou snacks, the neighbors will present the family with cookies, cloth, or wearable in return. The baby is already learning to speak. Imitating adult talk from time to time, it may prompt the family into cheers and excitement. Some may ask for `caitou`, or `good luck` for the kid. At the banquet, with the little thing in a parent`s arms, seniors present will be introduced to it one by one and then it is asked to address them properly, which not only adds to the blissful atmosphere, but also enables people to feel the strong blood bond.

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