Thursday, June 30, 2011

{zhua zhou: a new take on a Chinese tradition}

You might remember me mentioning this a while ago -- the zhua zhou tray, an old Chinese tradition of placing significant objects in front of a baby on the first birthday. Whichever object the baby picks in supposed to predict future interests, a career, or personality traits. You can read a little more about the history of the actual zhua zhou tradition here. I discovered it via Giverslog's tray on Pinterest.


We interpreted it slightly differently -- rather than simply have objects represent careers, we picked things that symbolised certain family members that Tilly might take after. But I loved the idea of collecting it all in an old Pepsi crate, and luckily I scored one from a Navasota junk antique shop a few months back for $3! (I'm aware that some people might think $3 is too much for something slightly rotten and rusty, but it's my weird idea of treasure!)


We had a little rummage around the house on Tilly's Birthday Eve, and came up with this motley collection of thingies and whatsits. Here's what they symbolise:
  • Safety glasses: an engineer, like Daddy
  • Pen: a writer, like Mummy
  • Orange IKEA moose: a Swedish furniture aficionado, like Baba *
  • Wooden spool: a world-class sewer and quilter, like Mormor *
  • Red high-heeled shoe: a fashion icon like Auntie Alice
  • USB charger: an Apple genius like Uncle Jesper
  • Cupcake wrapper: a talented baker like Auntie Gemma
  • Paper daisy: a gardener like Great Auntie Jenni
  • Paint brush: a watercolour artist like Mossa *
  • Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle book: a teacher like Mormormor *

  • 1776 book: a history enthusiast like Grandpa
  • Ball: a P.E. teacher like Grandma
  • Grizzly bear: an outdoor explorer like Uncle Travis and Auntie Yvette
  • Lotion: an Arbonne advocate like Great Aunt Sandy
  • Golf ball: a golf enthusiast like the Mitchells and Jepsons
  • Wool: a knitter like Great Grandma Thies and Nana


We placed the crate in front of Tilly and let her have at it. She grabbed the wool first, but quickly dropped it, and picked up the pen. (Yay!)


We gave her a few seconds to make sure she was happy with her choice, and then called it: future writer! To make me even happier, she got hold of the wooden spool with her free hand. A passion for sewing? Double yay!

Once the formal business of career prediction was over, we let her play with the rest of the stuff. IKEA moose got a good bit of attention (maybe she can be a part-time meatball server?)...


...and Tilly was determined to get a hole in one (with the hole being her mouth).



The safety glasses didn't quite 'fit', to Justin's dismay.



The daisy was quickly thrown aside, as were the cupcake wrapper and USB cable, and a quick flip through the history book revealed nothing of interest (i.e. no pictures of dogs). Many of the other items were tested for chewability, but found lacking.



Alas, no attention whatsoever for the ball and shoe. Auntie Alice, we're trusting that you'll be around to guide Tilly through the world of style in the next few years.


Bella even got in on the fun, and after a good sniff of everything on offer, decided that the grizzly bear was for her. We'll be enrolling her in Mountain Rescue Dog classes shortly.

(* Note: Perhaps you're wondering about our slightly off-the-wall names for grandparents and great-grandparents on my side of the family. They're not really so weird -- "Mormor" and "Morfar" are Danish for Grandma and Grandpa. When I was little, I couldn't say the letter 'f', so "Morfar" became "Mossa". As my grandma is now a great grandma, we added an extra "mor" for her -- Mormormor, i.e. mother's mother's mother, and my Mum became Mormor with just two "mor"s. Confused yet? There's more. Instead of making my Dad the new Morfar, we went with the Chinese for "father", which is "baba". This is more to do with him having had a mop of curly hair for much of my childhood than anything else, i.e. Baba Black Sheep. The Chinese just fitted well, as they were on year eight in Beijing at that time. So there it is. Danish-Chinese names for our English family. What can I say, we're a regular melting pot of culture)

8 comments:

Loreal said...

Looks like you are going to have lots of fun with your little girl over the years =) I'm sure she will love being a crafty gal and writer like her Mum!

Astrid said...

I hope so! I was so pleased :)

kathrynpeebles said...

I love it!!!

aracne said...

Very intresting and amusing. I love how Tilly seems to be wearing crowns every day of her life!

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