It’s a Viet Thing: The One Month Celebration

June 25, 2012 Its a Viet Thing 25

Please Note: As this is one of my MOST POPULAR blog posts, it is being reviewed and edited periodically for relevance and details are added as necessary. Last edit date: 1/2016.

If there’s one thing that’s always been a fixture in the Vietnamese community, it has got to be the One Month Celebration. Every baby gets to have this event, obviously, one month after they’re born. Not only is it a time to celebrate the baby’s birth and actually see the baby, this is when people give gifts. Traditional Vietnamese tend not to have baby showers, as is custom in America, because they’ve always done this event, which is kind of like the same thing – only after the baby is born, and with money.

Yes, Viets prefer giving and receiving money, because that’s just how we roll.

Anyways, the basics of it is this, at least from a Buddhist’s perspective, which is the culture I grew up in (although we’re raising our family as Atheists):

– A roasted pig is ordered, eggs are boiled and dyed red (for good luck), rice is cooked and molded into a particular shape of choice, fruits and other snacks are bought, and a certain soup is made (all of this is by preference of the host).
– All of that is prepared and placed together at an alter along with some incense as an offering to the Buddhist gods to watch over the baby, keeping them safe and in good health.

– The baby also has to be there, of course.
– After the incense finally burns out, you can clear away all the food and serve it up for everyone to eat and enjoy.

Next, is the party which doesn’t have any rules so no worries there.

The big thing though is everyone gives the parents money in traditional lucky Red Envelopes and the parents basically show off the baby and celebrate the birth. In a modernized, American world, it is totally acceptable for guests to bring gifts if that is what they’re comfortable with. If you do decide to go the route of the red envelopes, the amount given is usually based on how close you are to the parents.

For example:

– If you’re family, distant or otherwise, it’s assumed you would give more than others (typically anywhere from $50-$100 and up)
– If you’re a close friend, you can give around the same amount, say $50, more or less
– If you’re a co-worker, acquaintance, etc – any amount is perfectly acceptable based on your comfort level ($20-$40 has been the norm from what I’ve experienced)

Since it is Vietnamese tradition to perform a month-long in-house cleansing ritual where you and the baby are basically on lockdown for the entire month, no one usually sees the baby until this event.

Overall, it’s a fairly simple ritual and a very fun event. My mom is very traditional and makes sure she does all these things right and since this is how I grew up, I can’t wait to pass on this tradition when my kids start having kids.

ICYMI: Read about how the Vietnamese like to pierce their daughter’s ears at an early age.

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25 Responses to “It’s a Viet Thing: The One Month Celebration”

  1. fishgirl182

    congrats on one month old! i’ve never actually been to one of these but my brother just had a baby so maybe we’ll do it. i am not sure since his wife isn’t vietnamese but any excuse to eat good food is a good one. happy one month, birthday, baby!
    fishgirl182 recently posted…This Is How I FeelMy Profile

    • Vivian

      LOL, thanks!!! I can’t wait to write about what WE as moms have to do for the one month thing (it’s coming up soon & you will be shocked!) ^_^

  2. Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com

    Hey Vivian, That is so cool to share with the rest of us. I wonder if it is more like a Christening than a shower. The presents there tend to be money or silver things. The one month “lock down” was probably to help the baby stay healthy and away from sickness (and the mother); like the six weeks after birth women waited to go out in earlier days. When you went out after the six weeks it was “Churching;” and you had to be re-blessed to go back in. I think all these things that seem just traditional have roots in health or religion.

    • Vivian

      Yea, I def have no idea about religious events, but what you’re describing does sound the same. That’s pretty cool. LOL, my mom is SO traditional, but I like things like this and hope to pass it on when my kids have kids 🙂

  3. TomG

    hi Vivian!!

    i’m going to a one-month at the neighbor’s tomorrow, and was wondering what the tradition was all about. i googled, and *bam* there you are!!

    her name is Meriliss – her Daddy is Vietnamese and her Mommy is Cuban. thus, she is Cubanese!! lol she is absolutely precious, we (wife and i) have seen her twice and love her already!

    just wanted to share and say “hey”!! have a GREAT day!! thank you!! :)))

    -TomG

  4. Jen

    Thanks for the tips Vivian! I’m going to a one-month shower tomorrow for a Vietnamese couple who are friends with my boyfriend and friend and wanted to learn a little more about what to give them. This is great info- I’m going to hard boil some eggs and die them, put some money in an envelope and get them some other baby boy gift! 🙂

  5. TK

    What is an appropriate amount of money to give. I don’t want to seem cheap but I have never met theses people. It is for a coworkers grandson. I don’t know the coworker very well either he just invited everyone.

  6. Joyce Walsh

    Thank you for this information! My son and his Vietnamese wife are expecting their first baby in June. He told me about the one month thing, without many details. I was assuming there was “red envelope” involved, so this confirms it. Do you know whether there is a “traditional amount” for paternal grandparents to give? We are retired and on fixed (low!) income, and have to travel 500 miles and stay in a hotel to attend the party. Please respond to hobbeskatz@gmail.com

  7. Dana

    I’m so happy I found your blog, I have a mother to be Vietnamese American working for me and I don’t know if it’s bad luck to have a small office shower for her. I don’t know her very well, she is pretty shy and I don’t know what would be considered appropriate. I also would love to get an opinion on an amount for the red envelope and do I really wait to give it until after the baby? Any information would be very appreciated.

    • Vi

      It’s definitely not bad luck to have a shower beforehand as long as you have it as late as possible in her pregnancy. It’s frowned upon to celebrate a baby early on in a pregnancy because so many complications can arise and it’s believed to be bad luck in that aspect. But it really depends on how modern/Americanized she is about whether or not you want to throw it for her. Anyone who has lived in America for an extended amount of time has grown accustomed to the American style of baby showers before the baby is born and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating a baby either way. If every one of your co-workers is on board, I don’t see any problem with throwing her an office baby shower. It’d definitely make me feel extra special.

      As for the red envelope, because she’s your co-worker and you don’t know her very well, it’s perfectly acceptable to put $20, $10, or $5 in it as a gift or put in the amount you would’ve spend had you gotten the mother a gift. It all depends on what you’re comfortable on giving. We’re just appreciative of the gesture. If you’re planning on giving a gift, which like I said, is more common nowadays with Americanized Asians, then you can simply give like $5 or $10 in a red envelope as an added bonus.

      I hope this helps and don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Anne

    HI Vi,
    I live in Manchester England. We have some new Vietnamese Neighbours who are lovely. When they have a party they always share some food with us. The mum is now expecting her 3rd baby next month. I make patchwork quilts as a hobby and would like to make one for the new baby in the following colour schemes and with elephants in the blocks. Either yellow/whit/grey or turquoise/white/grey. Are these colours and the elephants acceptable? I don’t want to offend them.
    Anne
    P.S. Hope you are still writing on this site.

    • Vi

      Hi Anne, thank you so much for reaching out! I think your quilt gift idea is awesome and I’m sure your neighbors will appreciate it as well. Asians are all about practicality, as well as cute things, so having a quilt they can wrap their adorable new bundle in that is also cute will be perfect. Your color schemes sound great as well and I like that they’re gender neutral. I really hope you stick to this idea and I’m sure it’ll turn out beautiful. Let me know how they like it! And yes, I’m still around, I just need to update with more Asian culture-inspired posts. I’ve been slacking, lol.

  9. NL

    How do you avoid getting the infant sick at these events? If the baby gets sick and have a fever within 6 weeks of age, it can be very detrimental. Babies don’t get all their vaccinations until 2 months.

    • Vi

      I would just make sure that only those who are not ill, and have washed their hands or used hand sanitizer, are allowed to hold the baby or get close to the baby. Use caution around other kids, since you never know if/when they’re really sick and if you mention your worries to the other adults attending the event, I know they will understand as they only want the best for you and the baby. I’m sure most will just want a glimpse of the baby and he/she will either be sleeping in their crib/sleeper or in your/your partner’s arms for most of the event. No worries! Thanks for asking.

  10. Sad wife

    Hi, can you give advice? Why is it Vietnamese culture to not go to the in laws house to help with or visit the baby?

    • Vi

      It’s really more of a precaution to protect the baby, since during the first month they’re viewed as most vulnerable to germs and such. That’s why they tend to not let the baby leave the house during the first month, unless necessary. It’s a time for the mom to recover and adjust to parenthood, the baby to get used to life outside the womb, and bonding time. After the one month celebration, all is back to normal. It really depends on the family on how traditional/modern they are with their beliefs.

  11. Ann

    How many eggs and cups of che do you need to pray? Is there anything else that is really needed besides the pig?

    • Vi

      I believe it’s 7 for a boy and 9 for a girl when it comes to the eggs, and you need like 12 cups of che. As long as you have some kind of meat offering, the pig isn’t necessary. It could as well be chicken or duck, my family just likes pig, lol. You should definitely have a fruit tray, water, and some steamed rice with chopsticks (the goddess is particular for only using chopsticks). Basically what you see in the pictures here is what you will need. Thank you for reading and asking and I’m sorry for the late reply.

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