Traditional Chinese celebration – Baby’s full moon

red eggs and nasi kunyit (tumeric rice)

Traditionally, Chinese has very strict rules when a mother gives birth to a baby. The mother is treated with special foods and usually ‘kept hidden’ in the house for the full month. So, the full month is call the confinement because the mom is literally and physically confined to the home. The only place she goes is the hospital and nowhere else as she is considered ‘dirty’ and not welcome to visit other people. *roll eyes*

ang koo, nasi kunyit, red eggs

Therefore, when the complete month is up, the birth of the baby is celebrated by giving away these foods. They comprise of the yellow rice which is made of tumeric and glutinous rice, red eggs and the sweet cakes call ‘ang koo’ or red tortoise.

Red eggs are symbolic, meaning good fortune, completeness and a new beginning.

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The above red sweet cake is made of glutinous rice flour or sticky rice flour and filled with mung bean paste. What you see is the shape of a peach. If you get a baby girl, you give two peach shape sweet cakes with the tortoise shape. If you get a baby boy, the peach is replaced with two round balls. Completely roundish balls with no patterns.

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The tumeric rice goes with curry chicken. In olden times, the family with new babies will distribute these packages to all their neighbours and relatives. My late mother-in-law told me she made her own yellow rice, curry and eggs when she had my husband. Bless her for her efficiency! She lived up to the ripe old age of 70+ years old without any rheumatism or whatever illness.

Meanwhile, in this modern times, one can easily order these packages from shops specialised in providing baby full moon celebration gift packs. The whole package above costs RM12.50. (please do not ask me which shop because I don’t do promo)

I got this package from my niece who just had her baby. Normally, we reciprocate by giving an angpow to the baby. Angpow is a red packet filled with money.

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

10 thoughts on “Traditional Chinese celebration – Baby’s full moon

    Sugar&spice

    (July 22, 2008 - 7:58 pm)

    Yeap, had this before. Awesome stuff 🙂

    I remember it being accompanied with pickled ginger that went on very well with the tumeric rice and chicken curry.

    Sheryl

    (July 23, 2008 - 9:48 am)

    Ha ha…..thanks for the explanation about the ang koo. I’ve noticed that sometimes I get the round ones and sometimes I get the pretty design ones but never bothered to ask about the difference. I always thought it depends on what type of design the shop provides 🙂

    meewon

    (July 23, 2008 - 11:58 am)

    Tumeric rice with curry chicken is one of my favorite food, they’re just perfectly matched. Do you know how to cook the tumeric rice? Would be very much appreciated if you can share the recipe. Anyway, thanks for sharing all the above attractive pictures and info.

    Erina Law

    (July 23, 2008 - 12:36 pm)

    I love receiving them coz I love the tumeric rice with curry. Some will put a small container of pickle young ginger.

    RO

    (July 23, 2008 - 4:51 pm)

    Yeah, I love receiving those traditional Full Moon packets too compared to those single round-shape sponge cake which some families prefers for cost saving and convenience sake.

    vkeong

    (July 24, 2008 - 1:13 am)

    I don’t like ang ku 😛 But I loveeeee the kunyit rice with curry chicken.

    Huat Koay @ PenangTuaPui

    (July 24, 2008 - 3:44 pm)

    I am thinking to get something similar to this or give the relatives and friends a makan makan dinner together for the full moon celebration for my new born baby boy last Thursday.

    Lilian

    (July 24, 2008 - 4:26 pm)

    Huat Koay – Congrats! Don’t go for U-ton, not so nice wan. The above from them. The angkoo skin thick thick wan. I have always ordered from Eaton for all my four babies and one ordered from U-ton for the vegetarian set.

    vkeong – I only like cheh-koo from Eaton. Nice lor.

    RO – Nowadays they put a whole lot of preservatives in the curry so it won’t spoil so fast. Normally delivering those packages very mah huan, going from house to house.

    Erina – So far, I have never seen any pickled ginger before wor.

    meewon – I don’t like nasi kunyit, too jelak lah.

    sheryl – So you didn’t know diff? 🙂 Some people hor, when get a first baby girl, they give a boy set, with the hope of getting a boy next round. And this colleague of mine, still get another girl. Hahaha.

    sugar&spice – Normally, we don’t see pickled ginger, maybe a Cantonese thing? Here more Hokkien.

    […] posted about Chinese tradition of giving red eggs, red angkoo (tortoise) and red peaches (ang tho) when one have a baby […]

    » Happy Full Moon, G! Passion is Thy Name!

    (September 8, 2008 - 8:43 pm)

    […] when the occasion arises. . Read more about this unique Malaysian Chinese tradition here and here. . On a separate note, I saw this on the road today. . . What the *toot* is a ‘PEGAWAI […]

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