Thursday, January 16, 2014

SHANGHAI TRADITIONS

Haven't posted for some time, could blame the holidays, or the fact that I am becoming so used to everyday life here that there is nothing new to write about. However, these are both untrue, I have just become lazy about posting and just needed something to prod me back into sharing life here with you.

There are many wonderful traditions here in China, and my husband arriving home one night last week with a "goodie" bag made me want to share the tradition of giving these bags when a new baby is born.


With the arrival of two babies recently into the" Twinings Family", and one due any minute, we have also discovered that my husband has become the person responsible for giving two of these babies, so far, their English names. Chinese people like to have an English name, makes it easier when the are working with foreigners. I am assured his senior position is the only reason for him naming babies, lol. So if in the future you find yourself meeting a Chinese Isla, or Fiona, then you will know exactly where their name came from. There is also a Mary, but this was a request from one of Robin's colleagues as she did not already have an English name. Yes, it was decided it might be nice to spread some good Scottish names across the globe.

Anyway, back to the gift boxes. They are small and contain a few goodies, and a couple of not so good goodies!


There will always be sweets. this time our luck was in with Ferrer Rocher, although in the past there has been some more traditional Chinese candies which aren't really to our taste. Hershey chocolate is also often included. But there is one item in gift bags which belongs because of tradition, but just seems so well, so weird to us Westerners! What am I talking about? A preserved egg!!!!

These are preserved in a mixture of ash, lime, salt, clay and rice and left for weeks or months. They have quite a sulphurous aroma when broken into. As I'm sure you can imagine. Not really my favourite, although they don't taste quite as bad as they sound. They come in bubble packaging and you could be fooled into thinking something much tastier lies inside. Sometimes a tea soaked egg is substituted, which it had been in our bag. Whew!



The egg I'm sure signifies birth, and is a very traditional offering. I like to think of people hanging on to traditions. So often they get buried under the umbrella of global living, where cultures all seem to meldtogether. Whereas I'm all in favour of globalisation I think it is still important to hang on to our own traditions. Scotland has lost it's "guising" to the American "trick or treat". Why does this have to happen?

I say let's keep our our own traditions whilst embracing the traditions of other cultures. We don't have to adopt them to understand them. 

3 comments:

  1. I'm all for keeping up traditions (well, most of them, anyway) and this sounds like a very fine tradition. I have come across a preserved egg and I have to agree that it's an acquired taste. As for naming babies, that's a serious responsibility and Scottish names sound like very fine choices.

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  2. What a lovely tradition. We don't seem to be very good at keeping ours in the UK. Sad. Like your husband's choice of names - as Phil said, he had quite a responsibility, but a nice one.

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  3. Never know whats next here. It's always a challenge, and full of surprises. I wish we were better at hanging on to our traditions too.

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