My Three Birthdays: My Lunar Birthday


In the last month of the Year of the Dragon, leading up to the Year of the Snake, my mother had a recurring dream. She would be walking by a river in the jungle, and come across a snake. My mother would be unafraid as the snake approaches her, and she'd stick out her foot. To her delight, the snake would gum on her big toe.

In the dream, Dad comes along, startled and worried. But Mum was having fun, giggling while playing with this snake, and showing off to Dad.

The elders in the village said that this dream meant that I would be born late, in the Year of the Snake, and not the Year of the Dragon.

And they were right. I was born ten days late, on the fourth day of the lunar year of the Fire Snake.

For the last ten years or so, I have reclaimed the cycles of the moon, and celebrate my birthday the traditional way: on the fourth day of the first month of the Lunar New Year.

To feel the excitement of the last waning moon of the lunar calendar, heralding the coming of New Year celebrations.

To breathe in the moonless star-filled sky of Lunar New Year and think to myself: my mother celebrated the Lunar New year with an over-ripe belly.

To know the crescent sliver of the waxing moon as my birth moon connects me to my people in a way that I cannot describe.


Sign up with your email to receive news and updates.