An Irish Birthday

Would you like a cuppa? A cuppa what? Why a cup of tea, of course! The Irish drink an average of 1,184 cups per person per year. Tea in the morning, noon and night, for any reason or none at all. And always black tea, never green or herbal. A good thing I like tea. My host family speak both English and Irish (Gaelic), and it is fun to listen to them sing Irish songs together accompanied by a Celtic harp. They are celebrating my friend Shelagh’s birthday – she just turned 10. Her father treated her to an old custom by turning her upside down, and holding her by the ankles, gently bumped her head on the floor 11 times for good luck. They then told me of another old custom. Farmers would often have the family pig live in the house like a pet. The pig was called “the gentleman who pays rent” because at the end of his stay he became sausage, bacon and pork chops which were sold at market! Purrs, Gulliver

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Happy Birthday, Po!

“My wish is for you grow up to be healthy and happy!” I purred when I saw the baby.  Po’s mom told me he is two years old in China even though this would be his first birthday in the United States.  I enjoyed the longevity noodle your parents served! It was a looong noodle, enough to fill up the whole bowl, and I tried my best to eat it all without breaking the noodle, to ensure you would have a long life!  The zhuā zhōu tradition interested me. Your parents put out different objects – a coin to represent wealth, a doll for many children, a pen, a stamp, an abacus, a flute and some other things which represented different careers.  The tradition holds that the first item you choose represents your future.  I guess we will have to wait a few years to find out if the prophecy comes true.   Purrs, Gulliver

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