The Chinese Embassy in the United States and Smithsonian National Zoological Park hosted a Zhuazhou ceremony and other events to celebrate panda cub Bao Bao's first birthday on August 23. At 8 am, Ambassador Cui Tiankai and Dennis Kelly, director of the Zoo, walked to the panda yard to set up for Zhuazhou, a traditional Chinese rite for children celebrating first birthday. The 3 posters, drawn by Chinese and American children and stuck to bamboo poles, respectively featured peach as a symbol of longevity, bamboo as a symbol of health and pomegranate as a symbol of fertility. Bao Bao's favorite food were placed under the paintings. With Zhuazhou items ready, Bao Bao ambled out of her enclosure and in a while noticed the strange items with great curiosity. Sizing up the posters, she first "kissed" the peach, then torn down the other two, while the audience cheered.

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With Zhuazhou completed, Ambassador Cui Tiankai and Mr. Dennis Kelly gave interviews with the media. Ambassador Cui, who had attended the 100-day celebration for Bao Bao last year, expressed his delight to come to the zoo again to celebrate Bao Bao's first birthday according to Chinese tradition. "Over the decades, American people has been showing a strong love for giant pandas," he said, telling the media at the scene that Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, and the US Department of State, had just tweeted in the morning congratulatory messages for Bao Bao's birthday along with thousands of Americans. "Panda has become a symbol of friendship between the two peoples," he observed.

Ambassador Cui also noted that the birth and growing-up of Bao Bao here is an exemplary success as a result of the cooperation between Chinese and US scientists and commended the efforts by the National Zoo and its Chinese partners over the years. He said China and the US can extend their cooperation to address global issues, such as protection of endangered species, environment protection and fighting climate change, to better the well being of the mankind.


Dennis Kelly said that it is a great pleasure to work together with the Chinese Embassy in hosting a Zhuazhou ceremony for Bao Bao. The Zoo intends to promote the significance of saving and protecting endangered species through Bao Bao's events. Over the past decades, American and Chinese scientists have worked together on numerous panda projects, which has helped improve mutual understanding between the two peoples. Giant panda, like a bridge between American people and Chinese people, has played a significant role in furthering their exchanges and friendship.

Chinese Embassy also prepared noodles to hundreds of visitors, another Chinese tradition to celebrate birthday. The Zoo also threw a birthday party throughout the day, including birthday cake presentation and panda keeper demonstration. Thousands of people braved the rain to join the party, some of them singing "happy birthday songs" while Bao Bao was enjoying her cake. Michelle Obama, the American First Lady, the US Department of State, a few US missions overseas, scores of national and local US media and thousand of people tweeted to #BaoBaoBday to congratulate Bao Bao's birthday. Over 30 US media and Chinese media sent reporters to the Zoo and widely covered the event.


Watch Bao Bao's First Birthday Celebration, please click: