• Elsie Hernandez

First Birthday Tradition

The other day I was talking to my friend Stefania about her niece’s first birthday and she brought back so many memories for me. I remember starting to plan Skys’s first birthday celebration for months. My baby girl was turning ONE and I needed it to be just right. The theme was “Tinkerbell” so naturally the colors were pink, green and purple and of course Tinker Bell had to be invited. I remember every day leading to her party date, I would paint a full size picture of Tinker Bell. I even made a cake piñata decorated in silk fabric, it was pink and purple. First birthdays are so traditional and so much fun, especially when everyone is celebrating it with you. I loved working on that party and the many more that followed after, but I’m, not the only one that loves celebrating. Stefania told me about the traditions that her Romanian family have carried for centuries and that her niece will be carrying that tradition as well. She knows how much I love cultures and with a little research and some first hand experience on how her niece’s party went, I’m excited to write about first birthday traditions around the world.

Celebrating the first birthday of a child is a joyous occasion in any culture and the parents decide what parts of their traditions that they want to take part in this day. Whichever ones chosen they are always cherished. With a little research and a little first hand experience from my wonderful Romanian friend Stefania I was able to show one.

When most of just celebrate with a birthday and candles, others like to keep the family traditions alive. One tradition that is popular is the "Birthday Grab". I'm sure there are different names for like, Thôi Nôi in Vietnamese, Doljanchi in Korean, Zhuā Zhōu in Chinese and Erabitori in Japanese to name a few. According to the tradition is usually performed by Buddhist families. The first year was crucial during hard times for families, because many babies would not survive the year due to sickness. The tradition these days is more of an event but in the past it was seen as a potential look into a baby’s future. The tradition has a few variations but all versions follow a similar procedure.

Romanians also are very connected to their roots and traditions, so for most of them is very important to respect a vast number of traditions and customs.

In this tradition The 1 year old birthday baby is given a bunch of items. Whatever they hold onto the most will represent what they will become. The items that the babies can choose usually represents their potential career paths and it's actually fun to watch what they pick. As you can see when Maria is choosing in her birthday video.

Video courtesy of Stefania

Maria Chose Sewing thread: seamstress or designer, Teaspoon: loves food, good cook, Icon: believes in God. She's adorable. We wish her luck in whatever she chooses in life.