WHAT: A traditional Zhuazhou ceremony for giant panda cub Bei Bei. (Media opportunity only. Not open to the public. Public celebration for Bei Bei, Bao Bao and Tian Tian's birthday begins at 11 a.m.)
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 20
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Zhuazhou ceremony
1 p.m.: Giant pandas receive frozen birthday cakes
WHERE: David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat
Smithsonian's National Zoo 3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.(Note: media credentials are required to cover the celebration. Media parking will be in the Bus Parking Lot. Media must RSVP by Aug. 19.)
Dennis Kelly, director, National Zoo
Cui Tiankai, ambassador, People's Republic of China
David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO, The Carlyle Group
Brandie Smith, associate director animal care sciences, 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 giant panda cub, to celebrate Bei Bei's (BAY-BAY) first birthday. Historically, the Chinese hold a Zhuazhou to honor a baby's first birthday. In a traditional ceremony, several symbolic objects are placed in front of the baby. The object that the baby chooses foretells something about his or her future. Bei Bei will have three banners with painted symbols placed in his yard. He or his mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) 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. Bei Bei and Mei Xiang, Bao Bao and Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) will receive panda-friendly frozen cakes at 1 p.m. Guests will enjoy complimentary Dan Dan (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. The Zoo will stream the Zhuazhou and frozen birthday cakes via Facebook Live.
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