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Traditions from Around the World:

Birthday Celebrations from China

    In China everyone celebrates their birthday on New Year even if it is not the official date of their birthday. They turn another year older on this day.

    They believe that the baby is born one year old. A Chinese child's second birthday is an important event. They might tell the babies fortune, that is the baby tells their fortune, the baby is placed in the centre of a group of objects such as coins, a doll, or a book and they wait to see which object it picks up. If it picks up a coin it might become rich. If it reached for a book it might become a teacher. If it reaches for the doll it might have many children.

    The sixth birthday is also a big party time.

    The official language is Mandarin.

    In China, it is considered unlucky to give someone a clock for a birthday present. In Mandarin, the word for "clock" is similar to death.

    Legend records Buddha called all the animals in the kingdom to visit him before he departed Earth. Only 12 came, and he named a year after each one as a reward for their loyalty. The animal which rules the year you were born in is said to influence your life.

    The birthday child pays respect to his/her parents and receives a gift of money. Friends and relatives are invited to lunch and noodles are served to wish the birthday child a long life.

    In China, people believe that tigers protect children. Family members bring newborns special food and present them with gifts of clothing or toys decorated with tigers. When a Chinese girl or boy turns one year old, a variety of objects and toys are placed on the floor around the child. According to ancient beliefs, the object that the child chooses is a symbol foreshadowing the profession he or she will pursue in life.

    Also in China, a baby's birthday is celebrated at the age of one year and thirty days. Birthday guests bring colored eggs and good-luck pieces to the new baby.



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