I went to one Chinese child's 1st birthday shortly after arriving in China. There were several children and a large group of parents. It was at a restaurant with a separate place where kids could run and play. There was cake.
This past week, the little girl I tutor turned 3. A couple weeks ago, her mom asked if I'd be free to join them to celebrate her birthday. Cool! Yes! She didn't mention Brett although we've all had dinner together before. So I guessed this might be a similar party to the one I attended months ago - with a few friends, and maybe some of the girl's other teachers. (At 2 years, she takes art, music, gym, and English. That I know of. Maybe more.)
Last week, I asked to clarify, and she said it was just us - Brett and I invited to dinner. Oh!
Her husband travels a lot with work, and I think he enjoys being around a legitimate English speaker. Maybe. I don't know. But it's always "when my husband comes back from [Nanjing, Shanghai, Canada...] we will take you out for [hotpot, Beijing duck, fish]." So I assume hubs is the influence in these decisions.
I'm not big on my own birthday, but most little kids I've met LOVE their birthday! They love the attention, the singing, the candles, the cake, the presents - everything!
Little one here didn't even know what it meant. We all kept saying "happy birthday" but she had no concept that this was all about her. It seemed bizarre. I had bought some sticker books in English for her - something educational, but fun, and not just a book to read with "teacher". Her mom let her open one while we waited for dad, and she loved it. Didn't recognize it as a birthday gift though.
I'm baffled. Why not?
Is it a religion thing? I don't know their religion, if they even practice one. Are they Jehovah's Witnesses? The Jehovah's Witnesses seem to be doing well here. Of all the people I've met in China who are a-religious, I have also met THREE Jehovah's Witnesses! I only know one Christian, besides myself and Brett.
...and were "they" also saying happy birthday? Maybe it was just me.
How do I handle this? Should I ask, when I see her tomorrow? Did I just commit a faux pas? There was no thank you, so maybe they are just letting the water wash under the bridge. I'm so confused.