Bao Bao's First Birthday Celebration


WHAT:A traditional Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony for giant panda cub Bao Bao (Media opportunity only. Not open to the public. Public celebration begins at 11 a.m.)

WHEN:Saturday, Aug. 23
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

WHERE:Giant Panda Habitat
Smithsonian's National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
(Please note: media credentials are required to cover the celebration. Media parking will be in the Bus Parking Lot. Park in the left-hand lane perpendicular to the bushes. Media must RSVP by Aug. 22.)

WHO: Dennis Kelly, director, National Zoo

Cui Tiankai, ambassador, People's Republic of China

Brandie Smith, senior curator, National Zoo

Marty Dearie, animal keeper, National Zoo


The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China will host a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony, specially tailored for a panda cub, to celebrate Bao Bao's first birthday. In China it is tradition to hold a Zhuazhou to honor a baby's first birthday. In a traditional ceremony, several objects are placed in front of the baby. Each object is symbolic, and the object that the baby chooses foretells something about his or her future. Bao Bao will have three posters with painted symbols placed in her yard. She or her mother will choose one. After the Zhuazhou, Zoo staff and Ambassador Cui will be available for interviews.


A private event for members of Friends of the National Zoo will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a public celebration beginning at 11 a.m. The party will begin with a panda-keeper demonstration at 11 a.m., followed by a special frozen cake for Bao Bao and Mei Xiang at 11:30 a.m. There will also be an extra panda keeper talk at 1:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy complimentary Dandan (dahn-dahn) noodles (a cold dish from Sichuan province where the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong is located) on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can share photos and follow the activities of the day using #BaoBaoBday.

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