For those of you who read the parenting blogs of my Korean Seoul Sisters (City Mama, Keepin It Real and honorary member by marriage Weigook Saram), you may already know that it's a very important Korean custom to honor a child's first birthday by having a celebration. This celebration is called a Dol.
In the past, due to a lack of medical information, the general state of poverty, and many childhood related diseases, the death rate for children in Korea was extremely high. Many children died before their first birthday. However, after the age of one year, the survival rate steeply increased, making this milestone a very happy one for the child's parents.
In modern times, due to the improvements in medicine, the influence of Western culture, and modern industrialization, the life expectancy reasons for the Tol celebration have been reduced. However, the event is still celebrated as a time of congratulations for the parents and family.
Anyway, this past Saturday, we had the Peanut's Dol. It was quite an affair. We took over an enormous private room in a Korean restaurant and had about 75 of our closest friends and family join us in celebrating my daughter's first birthday. There was an enormous buffet filled with Korean food, traditional desserts and a clown. What more could you want?
The highlight of the party was definitely the toljabee. This is a traditional event at any Dol that supposedly determines the future of the child based on the symbolic nature of what object she grabs from the choices laid out in front of her. In front of the Peanut, we laid out a bowl of rice (representing prosperity), money (wealth), some thread (longevity), a notebook (a scholarly life) and a pencil (an artistic/creative life). Dressed in a traditional Korean hanbok, the Peanut looked at the choices in front of her and went immediately for the bowl of the rice. When we mixed up the order of the choices, she went for the pencil. So hopefully this means that my lovely daughter is destined for a prosperous career as an artist.
But it was great celebrating such an important milestone with so many close friends and family. Seeing all the kids run around together made it even more special. The Peanut was in great form. And although she didn't get a nap in all day, she seemed to have a lot of fun running around the room and being kissed by so many people. And despite being pulled in so many different directions, I had a lot of fun too. In that room. With the lovely BossLady by my side. Surrounded by friends and family. And watching my daughter celebrate her first birthday. I couldn't have been happier. Truly a great time.
And holy shit! My daughter is almost one!