Bei Bei, the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC,
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The first ladies of China and the United States both sent their greetings. China’s Peng Liyuan sent her greeting from China, the home country of pandas a world away.
“The giant panda is China’s national treasure. Bei Bei’s birth is the fruit of collaboration between China and the US and a strong symbol of our friendship,”
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US first lady Michelle Obama tweeted in the early morning: “Today we celebrate the National Zoo’s ‘precious treasure’ as he turns one year old. Happy birthday,
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In September, Peng and Obama visited the zoo and named the newborn panda cub Bei Bei, meaning “precious” in Chinese.
Peng expressed her appreciation for the staff at the National Zoo for taking good
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The zoo and the Chinese embassy held a special zhuazhou ceremony, a tradition honoring a baby’s first birthday that dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) about 1,000 year ago. Whatever the baby chooses foretells its future.
Three banners – with drawings and words in Chinese symbolizing long life, health, habitat, good luck and friendship – were placed in Bei Bei’s yard. The art was created by children of Chinese diplomats in Washington. Panda keepers sprinkled the signposts with honey to attract Bei Bei.
Bei Bei appeared to be in good spirits, but he strolled in the yard area far from the banners and climbed a tree for awhile, despite efforts by panda keepers to
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Finally, it was Mei Xiang who performed zhuazhou for Bei Bei. She picked the one signifying “luck and friendship”, then moved on to the next for “health and
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Hundreds of people lined up along the Asia Trail on Saturday morning to have a look at the birthday boy.
Suzy Johnson, wearing a red T-shirt proclaiming, “Happy Birthday, Bei Bei,” said she tweeted about the birthday in the morning. Like many visitors on Saturday, Johnson has been a panda fan for a long time. She said her mother took her to
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Johnson said she was devastated when Mei Xiang lost her baby in 2012. But the next year Bao Bao was born.
“We love the pandas, they are very peaceful,” Johnson said. “It’s all about peace and friendship and love. The world can use a lot more of that.”