When present for the celebration for one’s birthday, all guests must consume at least one long noodle in order to wish and ensure longevity in the birthday person’s life.
Lucy lived in Taiwan for most of her life and moved to Hawaii in the 1980s when her sons moved there. She told me this custom was a very popular in China and Taiwan. What this custom means is to wish the birthday person a long life symbolized by the long noodles. She told me that if one does not consume at least one long noodle at the birthday person’s celebration, he or she is wishing the birthday person a short life.
I knew of this custom from when I was a child. While I do not believe that one who refuses to consume noodles on a person’s birthday is wishing that person a short life, I do understand the Chinese folk belief that wishes for long life. It is simply a physical representation of what they wish for the birthday person.
This custom is also seen documented in Birthday Customs of the Newborn and Elderly on About.com:
Quinfa, Y. (2011). Birthday customs of the newborn and elderly. Retrieved from <http://chineseculture.about.com/library/weekly/aa021901b.htm>