Baby’s first birthday(周岁)

Baby’s first birthday

Headword

( 周岁 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer ChoHeejin(趙熙眞)

The first birthday of a baby.

Korean people maintain a long tradition of celebrating the first birthday of a baby with a large party. The baby is dressed in new clothes, a banquet table is prepared, and the doljabi (lit. first birthday pick) ceremony is carried out. On the day, the baby’s parents dress him or her in clothes of vivid colors, rather than white as usual, as well as the whole range of accessories such as shawl, shoes and ornaments.

In the morning, the entire family gather around the samsinsang, or the table for the deity of pregnancy and childbirth, which was specially prepared for the baby and to pray to the goddesses for the baby’s health and longevity. Later, everyone shares the rice and seaweed soup. The birthday party starts with the arrival of relatives, neighbors, and friends of the family, and culminates with the doljabi event, in which the baby is encouraged to pick one or more objects arranged on a table, such as a strand of threads, bow and arrow, book and brushes, rice and money, or scissors and ruler. Based on the item the baby chooses, the parents try to predict his or her fortune.

The banquet table arranged for the baby normally has plenty of food in addition to the doljabi items. Of the banquet food specially prepared for the baby, noodles are particularly important. With their thin and long shape, they symbolize longevity. Another important food is baekseolgi, or white rice cake made by steaming rice powder, as it symbolizes the baby’s innocence and spiritual purity. The food arranged on the party table also includes millet balls coated with red bean powder, traditionally believed to protect the baby from evil spirits and misfortune. In addition to the food full of symbolism, the baby’s family prepares an abundance of food to share with all the guests gathered for the celebration. The guests come to the event with various gifts to please the baby and the parents, such as rice, money, gold rings, and other things, expressing their wishes for the baby’s happiness in the future.

For most Korean families, the first birthday celebration is one of the most important family events as it is believed to be closely related with the health and happiness of their young family member. In the past, families that had problems in having children avoided holding the first birthday party for fear that it should cause more harm than good to their baby, obtained after so much effort. Today, however, the first birthday party tends to be treated as an opportunity to record an early stage in a child’s growth. The tradition of holding a big party for the first birthday is still followed today, but the formalities have undergone considerable changes over time.

With the arrival and development of photography in the early 20th century, many Korean families use the occasion to record the birth and growth of their children. So, taking pictures of the baby has been established as a new tradition. Today, the first birthday parties can be an expensive event involving professional party planners and catering services. The doljabi items have also changed significantly. In the past, the items were typically focused on emphasizing gender roles, but today they are items connected with diverse modern professions, such as a stethoscope, golf ball, baseball glove, microphone, and mobile phone.

Baby’s first birthday

Baby’s first birthday
Headword

( 周岁 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer ChoHeejin(趙熙眞)

The first birthday of a baby.

Korean people maintain a long tradition of celebrating the first birthday of a baby with a large party. The baby is dressed in new clothes, a banquet table is prepared, and the doljabi (lit. first birthday pick) ceremony is carried out. On the day, the baby’s parents dress him or her in clothes of vivid colors, rather than white as usual, as well as the whole range of accessories such as shawl, shoes and ornaments.

In the morning, the entire family gather around the samsinsang, or the table for the deity of pregnancy and childbirth, which was specially prepared for the baby and to pray to the goddesses for the baby’s health and longevity. Later, everyone shares the rice and seaweed soup. The birthday party starts with the arrival of relatives, neighbors, and friends of the family, and culminates with the doljabi event, in which the baby is encouraged to pick one or more objects arranged on a table, such as a strand of threads, bow and arrow, book and brushes, rice and money, or scissors and ruler. Based on the item the baby chooses, the parents try to predict his or her fortune.

The banquet table arranged for the baby normally has plenty of food in addition to the doljabi items. Of the banquet food specially prepared for the baby, noodles are particularly important. With their thin and long shape, they symbolize longevity. Another important food is baekseolgi, or white rice cake made by steaming rice powder, as it symbolizes the baby’s innocence and spiritual purity. The food arranged on the party table also includes millet balls coated with red bean powder, traditionally believed to protect the baby from evil spirits and misfortune. In addition to the food full of symbolism, the baby’s family prepares an abundance of food to share with all the guests gathered for the celebration. The guests come to the event with various gifts to please the baby and the parents, such as rice, money, gold rings, and other things, expressing their wishes for the baby’s happiness in the future.

For most Korean families, the first birthday celebration is one of the most important family events as it is believed to be closely related with the health and happiness of their young family member. In the past, families that had problems in having children avoided holding the first birthday party for fear that it should cause more harm than good to their baby, obtained after so much effort. Today, however, the first birthday party tends to be treated as an opportunity to record an early stage in a child’s growth. The tradition of holding a big party for the first birthday is still followed today, but the formalities have undergone considerable changes over time.

With the arrival and development of photography in the early 20th century, many Korean families use the occasion to record the birth and growth of their children. So, taking pictures of the baby has been established as a new tradition. Today, the first birthday parties can be an expensive event involving professional party planners and catering services. The doljabi items have also changed significantly. In the past, the items were typically focused on emphasizing gender roles, but today they are items connected with diverse modern professions, such as a stethoscope, golf ball, baseball glove, microphone, and mobile phone.