What do you feel about the first-birthday party? Of course, I don’t remember my first-birthday party but I do know my parents, grandparents and anyone who knew me came to the party to celebrate my first-birthday party almost thirty something years ago. We call it ‘Dol Jan-chi’ in Korean which means Dol is for first birthday and Jan-chi is for party. On first-birthday party, mothers (and fathers as well) prepare the special feast table, Dol-sang. On the Dol-sang, usually a book, money, rice, noodle, jujube, a pencil, thread are placed beforehand. When parents seat the baby in front of the table, the baby picks up one of the objects for fun, which helps the family to foretell the baby’s future. For example. if the baby picks thread, it means she or he will live a long life. There is a traditional Korean style Dol-sang for the baby’s first-birthday party, but mothers also do prepare the modern type of Dol-sang in these days. As other countries (I experienced that Australian people also think the first-birthday part is important like as Korean people) think the first-birthday party is important because the baby grows well last 12 months (1 year) and the parents also hope their baby lives well for the rest of her (or his) life. At the same time, the parents want to share the happiness with the guests and express appreciation to the guests as well. So they share the food that the parents prepared for and the guests give words of blessing to the birthday baby.
Like this, the first-birthday party is a big thing for the parents and the baby. So they try to prepare the ‘best’ birthday party for their baby and the guests. In my case, my grandma and mum prepared all the food at home for lots of guests. Yes, it was the home party which is very classic and traditional style of the first-birthday party. At that time (about 30 something years ago) this kind of first-birthday party was the only and common thing for everyone. How about today?
Some of my friends got babies and whenever I saw the photos of the first-birthday party on the Instagram, it is quite different from my birthday party. These days, the birthday table becomes more fancy (e.g. matching colours with dishes, flowers and props on the table) and the parents also prepare the ‘online first-birthday party’ besides the actual birthday party (offline birthday party).
In 2006, there was a service for a party given to a hundred-day-old baby in Cyworld. Similar to the first-birthday party (Dol Jan-chi), the hundredth day since the baby was born is important day to celebrate in Korea. Usually, this 100th day party isn’t as big as the first-birthday party but the parents still prepare the ‘white rice cake’ for 100 people includes their family, neighbours, friends or anyone they know. For the baby’s 100th day, Cyworld provided a service for the parents who wanted to celebrate their baby’s 100th day through Cyworld in 2006. Through using the baby Cyworld (specially designed for the parents who want to have online space for their baby), the parents were able to celebrate their baby’s birthday with their Cyworld Il-chon (Cyworld’s friends). Also, Cyworld gave 100 white rice cake for baby’s 100th day birthday, so the parents could send cyber-rice cake item to their fiends in Cyworld. With this cyber-rice cake, people could decorate their mini hompy. (It is common thing to distribute 100 white rice cake to people on baby’s 100th day birthday in Korea. People believe that distributing the white rice cake will bring the baby’s healthy life)
–I couldn’t find any image reference of the white rice cake item on Cyworld and the baby Cyworld couldn’t be found anymore.
Image from SK communications, <http://www.newswire.co.kr/newsRead.php?no=123837>
Blog post about ‘online first-birthday party’ will be uploaded soon.