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Wine for the Hair-Cutting Ceremony

2020-03-18

When a baby is one month old, the hair-cutting ceremony will be held and the family concerned will throw a banquet to mark this occasion. On this day, the family will first offer sacrifices to gods and ancestors hoping that the child will be aided and blessed by them. Then they will invite relatives and friends over to a banquet. If it is a boy, they will gift their neighbors, relatives and friends with red-painted eggs, meaning they have got a son to carry on their family line. The maternal grandma will prepare gifts ,of various kinds for the baby, such as a hat, a skirt, some buns, noodles etc. and have them sent to her daughter's. Among the many gifts, three things are necessary: a round mirror, Guan Yu's Blade, and a Long-life Lock. It is believed that the round mirror may reveal evil spirits, Guan Yu's Blade ward off demons, and the lock keeps the baby safe. When the baby's hair is cut, two burning red candles should be placed on a table together with wine and longevity' peaches, noodles etc. made of grain. According to the customs in Shaoxing, there are usually ten plates of snacks, because, in Chinese culture, the number ten stands for completeness' and perfection'. With the baby held in a senior's arms, the family pays homage to Heaven, Earth and ancestors. After that.a barber is called in to do his job. First, he uses a cup of wine instead of water- to wet the baby's hair, then cut it following the 'tile' style (a patch of hair kept to protect the child's fontanel). The parents should prepare a red package in advance, and after the barber does his job, present him with the ten plates of snacks and the red package.After the friends and relatives present take turns to hold the baby in their arms, the banquet for the Hair-cut Ceremony commences. This custom is also prevalent in many other places like Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian, but wine plays more important parts in Shaoxing. Apart from having the baby's hair wet with wine, the family may also feed it some wine with a chopstick, hoping that it could have access to the Blessed Water' or 'jiu'). When the child is 100 days old, more rites will be held. For example, it will be dressed in a Hundred-Family Garment (baijia yi) and begin to wear the Long-life Lock. Details may vary, though. In some areas, the garment is put on when the child is 1 year old; in others, a silver neck ring, as described in Lu Xun's famous writing Hometown, is used in the place of the lock.


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