Chinese First Haircut:
Have you ever been to a ‘Full Moon Party’? It sounds intriguing and must certainly involve fun… But, no, it does not involve Halloween, and it certainly does not entail wolves or any howling at the moon! In China, when a baby is born, after a full month has passed, or a ‘full moon’, it is time to celebrate and a ‘Full Moon Party’ marks this occasion. It is a celebration of the baby’s birth, survival and of course, must involve a haircut.
There is not as much symbolism in this haircut in comparison to other cultures, however, a celebration of new life is never to be underestimated. There can be elaborate and extravagant ceremonies, where families pay lots of money and make lots of effort to celebrate in style, but the humble celebration held at home is just as significant, with the baby always being the main focus.
The hair of the baby is usually cut by family, then shaved, and then tied up in red ribbon or string and kept as a keepsake by the family. Despite the lack of symbolism in respect to the actual haircut, it is still considered to be healthy for the baby to receive the cut, in that it promotes well-being and of course, healthy hair.
In more traditional times, families often left a small tuft of hair on the head, though this is a rarely followed custom these days. The colour red is dominant in Chinese culture, representing good luck and happiness, so it is a natural choice for LOTS of things to be coloured red in Chinese celebrations. Eggs are dyed red, symbolising new life, luck and happiness, and lots of items coloured red are present in the parties, including the baby, usually donning a beautiful bright red garment. Sadly, this tradition is considered to be dying out, especially with the younger generation of parents, and those that live a Western-influenced lifestyle. It is often the responsibility of older family members, often Grandmothers, to instigate the full haircut of the baby, with those often opting to simply cut a tuft of hair for a keepsake.