We took a week off to celebrate our grands0n’s first birthday. We had a great time helping to plan and set up the party. Our daughter-in-law is Korean and we had so much fun learning about and implementing the Korean 1st birthday traditions. The celebration is known as Dol and the game the baby plays is the Doljabi. He was challenged to choose an item to represent his future, both from a group of traditional choices and a group of modern ones. He was shy to choose from the first set of items in front of the crowd and finally chose the gavel which represents justice. For the second set they had to hold him back because he zoomed right for the race car.
For this ceremony the family wear traditional Korean dress, called Hanbok. The Dol table is set up to represent the joy of the first birthday and the bounty of the family.
It is adorned with dol towers that congratulate him on his 1st birthday, have his Korean name, and the symbol of the year of his birth. For last year it was the goat. I made these towers with beans, leftover plastic pipe sections and a hot glue gun. The table is also decorated with authentic Korean silk cloths and tassels and Korean embroidery in a rich design plus towers of fruits to show abundance.
Of course the food table was also laden with delicious Korean delicacies and rice cakes were part of the desert table.
The baby was loaded with love and gifts to celebrate this great birthday in Korean culture. The survival of the first year was truly a milestone in harder times. Another big celebration occurs when a person turns 60 (or in these days sometimes 70) as that is the opposite year from the first and again has the same symbol showing a joyous completion of the life cycle.