Birthday Tradition – Chinese

In Chinese culture a person should always eat noodles on their birthday.

The informant, Dominique, is from Singapore. She reports that in China it is traditional for a person to eat noodles on their birthday. The person is meant to eat long noodles because long noodles signify a long life. By eating long noodles on their birthday a person ensures they will have a long life. Dominique was taught the tradition by her parents who are both Chinese and says she actively practices it. She doesn’t know whether the tradition originates from Chinese or Buddhist culture, but says it is widespread. She reports it doesn’t matter what type of noodle you eat, so long as it is a long noodle.  Dominique thinks the practice connects her to her culture and says she will pass it on to her children.

Many cultures have a specific food that is associated with birthdays. In America for example we have birthday cakes. It’s interesting to note that the informant actually knows why she eats noodles on her birthday. She knows the symbolism behind the noodles, whereas I have had cake on everyone of my birthdays, but don’t know the symbolism behind it. Although eating long noodles may not prolong life it is an interesting ritual and something to look forward to on your birthday.