Red Egg and Ginger Party for Baby James

James Chine name is jian Hao

Wow, James is 5 months old today, and we can’t believe how much joy he brings to our family each day! Our baby James, the perfect mix of half Chinese, a quarter Italian and a quarter Irish, pow! I want to share a little bit about my heritage so that James will always know his Chinese roots.

I am very proud to be a Yee. My maiden name means “extra” in Chinese and my family has been known to always have a bounty of love, creativity, generosity, effort, passion, and tenacity.

Jessica mom from High School yearbook

My mother Janet May Ha Huie grew up in Hong Kong with her father Chung Fung and mother Li Ching. They made the long journey to Oakland, California in 1963. My mom had the most incredible ability to love unconditionally, always sharing her warmth and kindness for anyone she cared for. I love that James has her dimple on his right cheek.

Mom always put her family first, made sure we were well fed, safe, and loved. She always looked forward to spending time with our family; especially traveling together in our Toyota Minivan each weekend to watch my amazing big brothers Sydney and Blandon play tennis tournaments. They were both nationally ranked junior tennis players and even had successful tennis experiences in college; they were the most exciting players to watch!

Jessica being carried by her mom out of the hospital

Our mom was an exceptional cook, and each of her dishes was made with love. She knew each of our favorite foods and loved to see our glee when we got the chance to enjoy them. Some of my favorite dishes that she made are spaghetti with garlic bread and almond jello, yum!

My dad says that I get my passion for cooking from my mom, she certainly has taught me how to appreciate all kinds of food, especially during our weekend trips to Chinatown and feasting on Chinese steamed custard buns.

Sadly, we lost this extraordinary woman over 20 years ago due to stomach cancer. I know her strength, compassion and personal connection she had with others will always reside within all of us. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Our mom was admired for her artistic talent, and she loved to create the most beautiful flower arrangements for our home, with the orchid being her favorite flower.

James and Jessica at grave site of Grandma

My father Rick Kwock Kuen Yee and his father Bing Chow, mother Kam Kwei, brother Brian and sister Carol emigrated from Guangzhou China, where they lived in the Toisan village until 1962. They moved to Hong Kong for a few months and then made their roots in Oakland Chinatown in California. Both of my grandfathers cooked in Chinese restaurants when they arrived in California.

In fact, my grandfather’s were ironically rivals in the kitchen and didn’t know their children were dating! My father’s parents owned a Chinese restaurant called Bamboo Terrace for 8 years in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

I guess you could say my passion for food has always been a part of me; it’s a natural gravitation that I’m very proud of. My dad has risen above many adversities and challenges in his life, he has worked very hard to provide the best life for his family, I’m proud to say the man is my hero.

Now that my dad is retired, he is an avid tennis player and proud grandpa. Both my stepmother Lynne and my Dad always love spending time with their 5 grandsons (Jacob, Aidan, Zachary, Hudson and James) although they have wished for a granddaughter!

Grandpa and Grandma holding James

It’s been a tradition in my family to welcome a new member of the family with a Red Egg and Ginger party. I was excited to finally share this experience with Jason for our baby James. Typically this happens anywhere between 1 month to 3 months of the beginning of the babies’ life, or sometimes at the 100-day milestone.

There are some thoughts for the Chinese culture that the mother and child should stay home for at least the first month after the child is born, to stay protected from anything that may harm the health of mom and baby.

Special red egg and ginger party

We were ecstatic to celebrate this special occasion with our Bay Area family and friends. During the party, we always have lots of delicious Chinese food like chow mein, fried chicken, broccoli beef and pork fried rice, yum!

Jasons group of friends

Jessica and her god mother

James with auntie Lynnete

You may be wondering why the celebration is called “red egg and ginger.” The hardboiled eggs are dyed red for good luck and happiness, and the eggs signify fertility, birth, and life. The ginger represents the family’s strong, deep roots that the grandchildren perpetuate. Cool huh?

During the party, the eldest family member, who happens to be my dad, performs a ceremony to welcome the baby into the family and community. My father rubbed two red eggs around James’ head as I held him to signify hope for a smooth round (nonbumpy) shaped head, haha.

My dad then pretended to shave hair from James’ head to signify growing up, getting ready to be in society and so that once it grows back, it will be plentiful. The last part of the ceremony is for the youngest kids (boy and girl) to carry the new baby on their back and walk around the house as to go “play” for the first time. This also means adding more kids to the family (we’ll wait on that part, ha!).

Hudson ready to carry James around the house

My cousin Taryn and nephew Hudson carried James in a double happiness wrap, which has been used for all of the children in our family. James was also given lucky red envelopes filled with money from our guests. We just started a college fund for James, so we were so grateful to be able to continue to help him with his future!

Taryn carrying a very tired James around

We asked my dad to give James a traditional Chinese name based on his character and how we would like him to be in the future. We wanted James to have a name that would signify intelligence and strong leadership. With careful consideration and research, my dad selected the perfect name for James; Jiàn Háo. Typically the names are pronounced by the middle name and then the first name. Here is the meaning:

Jiàn (Mandarin) or Gihn (Cantonese): Healthy and strong.

Háo (Mandarin) or Hòuh (Cantonese): Grand; a leader, a person outstanding in intelligence or talent.

Auntie Mel made red velvet cupcakes with mustang logos

Now that our little cutie pie is 5 months old, he’s been so much fun and hitting some big milestones. James is a pro at tummy time, now being able to hold his head up 90 degrees, gazing around and squealing with joy and sometimes frustration when he starts to get tired.

Oh boy, James is also learning about his fingers and toes! He is getting good at grabbing fingers, his feet, blankets, and my hair, ouch. He also is sticking his fingers in his mouth and drooling, a lot! James is also quite the Houdini at night, he is very active and wiggles his arms out of his swaddle wrap and then moves around the crib.

The first few times this happened, I couldn’t remember if I had set him down the same way, come to find he has been turning himself around! My favorite milestone is the increased amount of cooing and giggling. James loves to chat with us when he wakes up in the morning and of course during dinner.

jessica and james mountain view cemetary

During our visit to the Bay Area, I was able to catch James first real tickle giggles when he was playing with his Auntie Imelda, I had never seen him laugh so much in delight, it was so wonderful! We are looking forward to many more visits to Northern California so he can see where mommy grew up, try her favorite food spots and visit our ever-growing family. We can’t wait to see what milestones and adventures are coming up next, stay tuned!

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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11 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Regina! James is growing so fast and we are enjoying all of milestones, it’s nice that we can document our family on the blog. Cheers to you on a happy, healthy and productive new year!

  1. Wes says

    Beautiful storytelling and photography! It was especially interesting to read about traditional customs practiced in a modern setting. You note that RE&G parties can be held at various points, the 1-month, 3-month and 100-day milestones. I’ve had trouble finding consensus on this point — do you know what part of the culture determines this?

  2. Dawn Hays says

    Jessica, I enjoyed reading about the egg and ginger party for James. I like to learn about the Chinese culture because I have turned to it for healing. I like the concept of prevention.

    I met a Chinese woman in our community. At 50 years old, she has no cavities. She eats no sugar. I was amazed, as I am from the South. The land of sugar from the plantations.

    I am the lady that commented on the oatmeal pancakes…I had a growth cut off my back this week and I am at home recuperating. Well, take care. Your baby is beautiful! Love the name James.

    Sincerely, Dawn Hays

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for taking the time to read his story Dawn! That is so neat that you are learning about Chinese culture 🙂 I hope you are feeling better and eating lots of healing foods! Thank you for the kind words 🙂

  3. Lan Q says

    What a great photo journal about your son’s red egg and ginger party, thank you for posting! With so much detail, it helps keep the tradition alive in my own family. I definitely plan to use this article to help plan my own daughter’s upcoming celebration!
    All the best, from one Toisan descendant to another 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much Lan! I’m really happy that we were able to capture the moments, significance and meaning behind the name and ceremony. Congrats to you on your daughter’s celebration! That’s so amazing that our families are from the same village 🙂

  4. Gavin Chun says

    I don’t know what a food scientist is, but you most be really good if it’s as much detailed as your blog. I appreciate the sharing of your ancestry which is similar to mine. When I ask my mom, something always gets lost in the translation.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Gavin, thank you for your nice comments! I’m glad you dropped in to learn more about food science (The study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food and its application in consumer products) and letting me share my family traditions with you! I know what you mean about things getting lost in translation, that’s why I made sure to write things down for my son 🙂

  5. Adelaide says

    Love this!!! Thanks for sharing. I’m planning my son’s 100th day party at the end of the month and am looking for ideas. My family is also toisan but very ABC. I’m celebrating 2 parties, one for my side and another my husband’s. He has quite a large family and is of chiu chow descent.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Congratulations Adelaide! That is so neat that our families are from similar regions, what a small world. I would love to hear how the celebration goes for your son!

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