Baby Showers - Whatever Are They?
In some countries, baby showers is a way to celebrate either the pending or recent birth of a baby.
It is not to be confused with baby christening, which usually refers to the baptism ceremony of a baby.
Having been born and bred in Singapore, and having attended many baby showers of cousins, ex-colleagues and friends, I was rather accustomed to the fact that baby showers was a celebration of the recent birth of babies (usually held about a month after the newborn comes into the world).
In the past, the newly-parented couples would take the trouble to deliver "Red Eggs" (hard-boiled eggs with painted / dyed red shells) and cakes to relatives, but these days, people no longer practice this custom.
Chinese Baby Showers
For the local Chinese couple, baby showers are usually held a month after the baby is born, and the mother has undergone a month of confinement.
It is an awesome way to showcase the baby to the rest of the world finally, decked out in cute little outfits and meeting its relatives and parents' friends for the first time in its life.
It is an exciting day in which the relatives, friends and colleagues get to meet the new born for the first time, as well (for those who did not have time to visit at the hospitals immediately after delivery).
Plus, it is a relief to the mothers who finally get to take a good shower, wash their hair (women during confinement are not advised to wash their hair), get out of the bed they have been lying on for an entire month (more lying down is good for the new mother's back) and finally dress up to meet the guests.
Invitations sent out, the preparations for venue and food settled, the guests are ready to arrive. The venues will usually be at the couple's house or a chalet rented specially for this baby party.
There will be mini buffet catered, or homecooked delicacies for the guests to feast on. The parents will decorate the entire place with balloons, baby posters and banners.
After well-wishes and eating, the couple will cut the cake to celebrate this special, joyous occasion.
The guests usually prepare gifts of money (in red packets), vouchers, hampers or baby gift sets. They tend to take the chance to catch up with other relatives or mutual friends at such parties, and mingle around at such occasions. I also make use of such events to network.
European Baby Showers
When a good friend, Micaela* who is European, invited me to attend a Baby Shower, I had automatically assumed that it meant she had given birth, and that I would get to play with the newborn at the baby shower.
I had been surprised, too, since the event was set for mid-November, whereas Micaela* was due to deliver only during the first week of December, so I thought it was perhaps a very premature birth.
It was only when I met up with a mutual good friend to shop for gifts, then I was enlightened to learn that for Europeans, their notion of baby showers is to celebrate the upcoming birth of an infant, not after.
When we got to Micaela's* lovely apartment, we were surprised to note that there were only a number of close friends being invited. I had expected a huge turnout, like the Chinese who would invite friends, relatives and colleagues for the baby bash.
For them, they had prepared a sumptuous feast of homecooked European cuisine and invited close friends over for a small celebration and hangout afterwards.
So we mingled with the other guests - who were Europeans as well, and enjoyed a delicious meal comprising of salad, vine tomatoes stuffed with prawns, cheese and hard-boiled eggs, and Plov etc. Afterwards, the couple brought out a beautiful cake and we sang birthday song before they cut the cake for us to share.
Fun, very fun, and I am always very happy to catch up with this fun bunch of people, make new friends and learn new things about different cultures. This has certainly been an eye-opener for me.
Well, happy birthday newborn babies!