Sign In


Latest News
Korean Traditional 1st Birthday: DOL

Korean Traditional 1st Birthday: DOL

Korean Traditional 1st Birthday: DOL




“Dol” is probably the most well known birthday celebration in Korean tradition.

Historically, when Korea had little medicinal knowledge many newborn would not survive the first birthday, mostly because of Korean seasonal temperature differences. When a baby lived to be one year old during that time, it was a reason to celebrate.




Years have passed and “Dol” is still celebrated in Korea, but of course, like many other traditions, have been modernized and adapted according to family and religion.

For instance the original tradition includes a prayer moment, which doesn’t necessarily happens in every case because the religion of back than is now rarely practiced.




For the celebration, the baby is dressed in the traditional korean clothing, called dol-bok – a version of the hanbok. The colors of the clothes vary if it is a girl or a boy.

Usually, there is a meal – many families offer variations of tteoks (rice cakes) -and a small ceremony.




The ceremony includes singing happy birthday, giving thanks to the grandparents of the baby and some little prizes for guests, for instance the person who has the closest birth date do the baby, the guest who came from most far, etc.




The most expected moment of the ceremony is probably the “Doljabee”.

Different objects are prepared in a tray for the baby to pick, nowadays they put together things like pencil, mike, hammer, money, stethoscope, etc. The item that the baby picks up is believed to predict his or her future.

When you get to the ceremony, the guest is asked to bet what the child will choose and than whoever gets right might win a prize.

If the child picks up a pencil, for intance, it is predicted that he/she will be a good student, if he/she picks the money, will be rich and son on.




As for the gift to the baby, some people buy something, but mostly guests give an envelope with money for the parents.

It is a very common thing for all occasions, birthdays, funerals, weddings. They consider it more convenient to give money and to get money.




To end the ceremony, the parents prepare a little thank you gift for all the guests. It can be something costume made or some sweet or food thing.


It’s a nice experience, and usual in Korea, even tho it is a lot of work to the family, preparing and making it happen, the event itself usually ends really quick.

After all, two hours of partying in a one year lifetime for a baby might be quite enough!




Related Posts