Panda-monium at National Zoo birthday party


Panda cub Bao Bao, whose name means “treasure,” licks her birthday “cake” — made from fruit and sweet potatoes — at the National Zoo in Washington on Saturday.

Bao Bao’s first birthday was celebrated at the zoo with a traditional “Zhuazhou” ceremony — a Chinese tradition in which families present a baby with several symbolic objects on his or her first birthday, with the one the child selects indicating something that will be important later in life.

Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, who has called Bao Bao Washington’s other Chinese ambassador, acknowledging a long-standing practice of “panda diplomacy” in which China would give or loan pandas to other countries as a cute message of goodwill, thanked the zoo for caring for Bao Bao and collaborating in a global effort to help the species.

— The Washington Post

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press