“Dol janchi” or in Hangeul: 돌잔치



Today I attended my friend, Haeyeun's grandson's first birthday. When a Korean child turns One, it's a big deal. Haeyeun gave her grandson the party.

He wore the traditional costume. This isn't a picture of Kolby, but Kolby did wear clothes like that. He wore yellow pants, socks and rubber shoes. His kimono was red and ornate and on top of his head was a cloth miter. That's right, like a bishop. I asked Haeyeun what the hat meant and she said longevity.

Placed in front of Kolby were four choices of presents: wealth, longevity, security, and wisdom. These were represented by wealth=fruit & grain, longevity=3 skeins of yarn, security=bow & arrow, wisdom=calligraphy pen & ink stone with rice paper. Kolby fingered the fruit but didn't pick it up. But when he stuck his finger in the yarn he lifted the entire skein. We considered that the choice. Kolby will have longevity.

Another Korean custom, was given by Changhun. Changhun gave Kolby a 24 karat baby ring. Gold rings are the customary Korean birthday gift. But because gold is expensive, people give ordinary gifts, just like in the USA. So the gold ring was a pleasant, and much cherished surprise. The gold ring represents health, wealth, and prosperity. Kolby will always have it to sell if he needs money. It's insurance for the future. Hopefully, he never will.

Finally, Kolby's Dad read the Birthday Declaration, where Kolby promised to be a good son and make his parents proud. He will always honor them and take care of them. Then Kolby put his hand on the Declaration which represented his signature. We at the Birthday party were witnesses.

Good health and fortune, Kolby!
May God bless you, always.

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