Ceremonies of Life Taiwanese Culture
A child is considered one year old at birth and another year is added at each Chinese New Year. A baby's first-month celebration is a most important occasion and the baby's parents traditionally give family and friends red-stained, hard-boiled eggs in celebration. A newer tradition is giving especially prepared rice cakes to announce the birth and to celebrate it. For a special gift, the Chinese often give a small piece of 24-karat gold baby jewelry. Money is also a traditional Taiwanese gift and should be an even amount (NT$800 or NT$1,000). The money should be put in a plain red envelope and placed beside the baby's pillow. Baby gifts should be given during the first month and never before the birth of the baby. Sending a nice flower arrangement to the mother while she is in the hospital is an appropriate gesture.
Wedding celebrations are usually held in a restaurant or hotel and female guests should wear something bright and colorful to give face to their hosts. Men should wear a jacket and tie. It is polite to arrive on time, or at most, a few minutes later than the time shown on the invitation. By tradition, a guest who arrives to early is considered greedy. Guest should leave as soon as the meal is finished and the last drink has been taken.
Because weddings are scheduled on auspicious days, it is conceivable that you could be invited to more than one wedding on the same evening or weekend. If on the same evening, you should plan to arrive at the most important one last and stay. You can ask someone to save you a place at his or her table. Go to the other wedding, give your money, speak to the bride and groom and let them introduce you to the others at their table.
Although sometimes gifts other than money are given at wedding, money is still the accepted custom. Generally, the families of the couple have given them everything they will need for their new home. The amount of money you give, always even, will depend on factors such as relationship and where the wedding is being held. Place the money in a red envelope with the double happiness symbol and present it at the reception table upon your arrival at the wedding. Be sure to see that your name and the amount of the gifts are recorded.
Chinese religion is a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian beliefs. There is a strong belief in reincarnation and the afterlife and ancestor worship is of great importance. If you are invited to attend a funeral service, it is appropriate to wear dark colors or white, to maintain a low profile and to show respect to the family of the deceased.
At most Taiwanese funerals, there is a table at the entrance of the venue where money gifts for the family are received and recorded. The money should be an even amount, NT$900 or NT$1,100, depending upon your relationship to the deceased or the family and it should be placed in a plain white envelope. Guests are usually given a flower to wear and a small, boxed towel or handkerchief.