Traditional Vietnamese One Month Birthday Ceremony

How is the meaning of the ceremony?

The One Month Birthday Ceremony (Vietnamese: Đám Đầy Tháng) aims to give thanks to the Twelve Midwives (Mười Hai Mụ Bà) and the Three Venerable Masters (Ba Đức Thầy). In addition, this is an opportunity to introduce the baby to the relatives, neighbors and friends of the baby’s parents and this is also an opportunity so that everybody congratulates the mother and the baby on getting to be healthy after overcoming a difficult month.

Who are Twelves Midwives and the Three Venerable Masters?

According to the folk beliefs of Eastern Asia peoples, the Twelve Midwives are the fairies who create the babies’ shapes, teach the babies to laugh, talk, walk and so on. The Twelves Midwives have the names as follows:

1.Trần Tứ Nương

2.Vạn Tứ Nương

3.Lâm Cửu Nương

4.Lưu Thất Nương

5.Lâm Nhất Nương

6.Lý Đại Nương

7.Hứa Đại Nương

8.Cao Tứ Nương

9.Tăng Ngũ Nương

10.Mã Ngũ Nương

11.Trúc Ngũ Nương coi

12.Nguyễn Tam Nương

Besides the twelve Midwives, the Three Venerable Masters would teach occupation to babies. The three Venerable Masters have the names as follows:

1.Thánh Sư

2.Tổ Sư

3.Tiên Sư

What offerings does the ceremony have and How is the way setting the table?

For the Twelve Midwives

The main offerings for the Twelve Midwives are sweet soup, sticky rice. In addition, there are also other offerings such as flowers, fruit, tea. The offerings are displayed as follows:

– In front of the table, in the center, putting an incensory and on the right, putting a vase of flowers and on the left, putting a plate of fruit.

– On 2 sides of the table, putting each side 6 bowls of sweet soup, 6 bowls of sticky rice, 6 small glasses of tea.

For the Venerable Master

The offerings for the Venerable Master are 1 chicken or 1 duck boiled, 3 bowls of rice soup. Rich families can have extra roasted pigs. There are also other offerings such as flowers, fruit, tea, alcohol. The offerings are displayed as follows:

– In front of the table, in the center, putting an incensory and on the right, putting a vase of flowers and on the left, putting a plate of fruit,

– Behind the incensory, putting 3 small tea glasses and 3 small alcohol glasses,

– In the middle of the table, putting 1 chicken or 1 duck boiled, 1 large bowl of rice soup,

– Around the large bowl, putting 3 bowls of rice soup.

The table for the Three Venerable Masters is put behind the table for the Twelve Midwives. Basically, the offerings and how to set the table are like above. Depending on the region and the shape of the tables, people can add some other offerings or have a little difference in the way of setting the table.

How does the ceremony Happen?

The father and the mother stand in front of the offering table, burns 3 incense sticks, sets on the forehead and pray:

“Today is the day…month…year, Our family offers the offerings to the Mười Hai Mụ Bà in order to thank you for forming, feeding and teaching our child the full name …for 12 months and please continue to help our child get to be healthy and intelligent. We also ask Ba Đức Thầy for handing an occupation to our baby in the future”.

The praying finishes, they put incenses on the censer and nods 3 times.

After that, the family carries out Mắt Miếng Ceremony (The ceremony shows the family’s wish for the baby). The mother holds the child. The grandmother holds a branch of flowers, both waves over the baby’s mouth and says the beautiful words as follows:

“Opening your mouth is having flowers and flowers,

 

Opening your mouth is being beloved and remembered,

 

Opening your mouth is having money and silver,

 

Opening your mouth is loved and esteem by everyone.”

Finally, Relatives offer money or gifts to the baby.

How does the celebration party happen?

After the ceremony, the family holds a celebration party. Depending on the ability of the family, the party is large or small. The small party has duck meat, chicken; the large party has roasted pig. Nowadays, the families often organize live music (a performance style that there is a band serves, any attenders can go freely to the stage to sing). When coming to take part in the party, the guests offer money and congratulate the family. The money is put in the red envelope that the host sent about a week ago.

How does the celebration party happen?

After the ceremony, the family holds a celebration party. Depending on the ability of the family, the party is large or small. The small party has duck meat, chicken; the large party has roasted pig. Nowadays, the families often organize live music (a performance that there is a band serves, any attenders can go freely to the stage to sing). The guests often offer money and congratulate the family. The money is put in the red envelope that the host sent about a week ago.

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