Monday, October 24, 2011

Dol - First Birthday

   As the article is already up, I just quote it here (JoongAngIlbo), and this reminded me of great and sweet ending of New tales of Gisaeng. This was an unusual drama, full of ups and downs, turns and blind alleys, with ocasional ghosts that made one old, crude man re-evaluate his path. So I'm actually putting this up here having last 5 minutes of this drama in mind.
Oh this is why I love family dramas, but waiting 30 episodes for a conclusion like now with A Thousand Kisses is a pain. 


Of many rites of passage in Korea, commemorating the first birthday is considered one of the most important events in one’s life. Dol, referring to the first birthday, is considered to be originated from chodoil, meaning the first day.

Dol has been celebrated by both commoners and royal families since ancient times because a large number of babies didn’t reach their first birthdays due to lack of nutrition and medication. For this reason, people used to celebrate the 100th day after a child’s birth and call it baekil. Baekil is still commemorated but dol is considered more important now.

Many parents and babies wear Western dresses and tuxedos on the occasion, but hanbok, or traditional Korean dress, with five different colors, often called obangsaek, is an official outfit for the first birthday party. The five colors include yellow, blue, white, red and black and the colors are believed to protect the baby from evil spirits.

In order to celebrate dol, parents prepare a party and food.

The highlight of the dol party is doljabi, where a baby is seated in front of a table that is decorated with various objects. The objects include rice, money and a pencil. Each object has its meaning. For example, if a baby picks up money, it is considered a sign that the baby would become a rich person in the future. If a baby picks up a pencil, tradition has it that the baby would grow into a scholar.

As time goes by, however, diverse objects with modern meanings have been added to the table such as a golf club, microphone and stethoscope.

When people are invited to a dol party, they often bring cash, baby necessities or gold rings as gifts.

By Sung So-young