How to Throw a 'Dol' Party: 100 Day Korean Birthday Party for Babies
Each birthday celebration is very special and important to Koreans, but certain birthdays are definitely considered much more special.
For the first 21 days after the baby's birth, only close maternal relatives are permitted to visit the birth mother. This is because the baby is still considered too fragile for the initial 100 days of its life to have the option to withstand the attention of a large number of people.
Long years ago, survival rate for new born babies are very low in Korea due to the spread of childhood diseases. These all happen because of the lack of proper medication and proper nutrition, which end the lives of many infants even before reaching their first birthday. That's why, both commoners and royal families used to celebrate the 100th day after a baby's birth to the world and call it "baekil" in Korean words.
At 100 days, the baby can finally be able to meet with other family members, as well as neighbors and friends. In Korean tradition, they don't typically give presents for the baby on the day of his birth, but they are permitted and are not considered an offense at all. The Korean culture holds a celebration for 100 days of the baby and individuals can bring gifts or presents like clothes. It is likewise acceptable if they are dear friends with the child's mom or dad to give a silver chopstick or spoon set.
Traditionally, Koreans hold few special birthday celebrations for kids as well as grown-up individuals, for example, baek-il, tol, hwan-gap, and gohee.
To fully understand the significance of Korea's birthday celebration, it is important to take a backward look into Koreas' history.
Many years ago, it wasn't unusual for babies to encounter different diseases, subsequently making the survival rate extremely low for these little beloved newborns. Besides diseases, the high demise rate to a great extent added to an absence of medical training, education and care, poor practices of hygiene, and extreme climate conditions.
This is the reason why Baek-il is being celebrated on the 100th day after a baby's birth. As a Korean belief, parents refrain from taking the infant outside to protect their child, until such time he reaches the 100th day after his birth to the world.
It isn't until baek-il that the infant was acquainted with neighbors, companions, and family members. One of the baek-il's considered uncommon occasions is the parents giving rice cakes, called "baekseolgi" in Korean word, to at least a total of 100 individuals. They believe that this occasion can be able to help them with ensuring to protect the kid's life. They additionally pray to God for the youngster's continued good well-being.
This day is a colossal achievement for moms too in light of the fact that it denotes the end of her recovery from work and commends the restless evenings and difficult work during the newborn season.
Only familial women in the family, like mom or grandma would start prayer by uniting her hands and then rubbing her palms. The mountain goddess would be asked to give the youngster longer lives while the birth goddess was expressed gratitude toward for the birth. Despite the fact that this part of the ceremony is frequently forgotten nowadays, it's still necessary to know to comprehend the occasion somewhat better and its significance to the Korean culture.
To begin the dol ritual, parents would be praying to two Korean Gods — Sanshin (산신) (the mountain soul) and Samshin (삼신) (the birth goddess) to begin the dol ritual.
More About Sanshin: Mountains are a loved object and represent the center axis of the world, where heaven and earth are said to be connected, all through north Asia. Korea is covered with mountains, so it's no big surprise that this goddess is particularly significant in every rite and ceremony. Sanshin comes from the shaman root which was assimilated into Korean Buddhism when Buddhism was acquainted with the peninsula.
More About Samshin: Samshin signifies "Three Goddesses" in Korean and is viewed as three grandmas, who on the whole are viewed as the goddess of childbirth in Korean shamanism. It is believed that Samshin provides protection to the child starting from the day of his birth to age seven when the god of the Seven Stars dominates.
Moreover, although Christian Koreans don't participate in the traditional Jesa ceremonies since they depended on a pagan ancestral ritual, they do participate during the Dol ceremony. By and by, families hold Jesa, dol, and each other Korean cultural tradition since they believe they're simply that, cultural tradition. In any case, you can decide and choose to pray whomever you want or not under any condition. It's only one part of the entire ceremony.
During the ritual, the child is wearing a new set of traditional Korean garments. The female child wears make-up and the male child wears the traditional hood that is worn by unmarried youths. Numerous parents and children wear Western dresses and tuxedos at the said ceremony, yet hanbok, or traditional Korean dress, with five unique tones, regularly called "obangsaek" in Korean word, is an official outfit for the first-ever birthday celebration. The five tones of the traditional clothes incorporate blue, yellow, white, red, and dark and the tones are believed to provide protection to the baby away from evil spirits.
Before a table of different foods and objects, for example, books, threads, note pads, brushes, ink, and money, the child is being seated and situated, which have all been given to the family by their friends and family members. The youngster is asked to get an object he wants from the table, as it is believed that the one chosen first will predict or foretell the kid's future. On the off chance that the child gets a book or written brush, for instance, it foretells that he is bound to be a scholar. If a baby receives rice or money — he will be rich in the future; cakes or other food — he will be a future government official. If ever that the kid gets the thread, it is a belief that he will carry on with a long life.
Afterward, feasting, singing, and playing with the baby is the next part of the ceremony. Frequently, visitors will present their gifts, it can be clothes, money, or gold rings to the parents of the baby. Before going home or leaving the ceremony, guests are given packages of rice cakes and different foods as well to take with them. This sharing of rice cakes is thought to bring the kid happiness and a long life ahead.
HOW TO DRESS DURING THE RITUAL
During the entire ritual, the little guest as well as the parents are generally wearing "hanbok" or traditional Korean apparel. It is always best known for the comfort it gives and for the ease of movement of the wearers as well. Generally, it tends to be gone back to the Goguryeo Dynasty, one of the Three Ancient Kingdoms of Korea.
Jeogori or jacket — is worn by both men and women. When it comes to the lower garments, women are wearing a long skirt named "chima" in Korean words. On the other hand, men are wearing wide, roamy pants which are called "baji" in Korean words. In spite of the fact that the hanbok's fundamental design has been scarcely changed, various assortments are seen today, and more shading options are available as well, where anyone can choose the color they love.
GIFTS TO BRING DURING THE 100 DAY CELEBRATION
As mentioned above, giving presents to the baby is allowed, especially if they're great friends of the baby's parents. So, here are the lists of gifts that everyone can bring when attending the first 100 day birthday of the child.
Gold is a valuable present to give at a first birthday celebration. In Korean culture, the metal is an indication of good wellbeing and fortune. It is believed to carry prosperity as well as long life to any child who will receive it.
A 24-karat gold ring is traditionally being given as a present on the first birthday celebration of the baby. Little rings are accessible to purchase all through South Korea, which is specifically intended for this festival. In the past, gold rings were utilized as money or means of currency and used to pay for a kid's schooling. In present-day times, a gold ring is kept until a kid grows up and is traded out for cash to pay for her schooling.
Despite the fact that the gift of money is seen as impersonal in the Western countries, in Korea, it's considered an acceptable present to give. It is another option if in case you can't manage the cost of a gold ring but still, you need to give a blessing that implies prosperity and life span to the child. For safekeeping, the money is given directly to the parents of the baby on the birthday. The money that was gathered from loved ones for the most part is spent later for the child's education.
On her or his first birthday celebration, a youngster follows the tradition by way of wearing brilliant attire, quilted socks, and a hat. Parents welcome garments as useful and practical gifts or presents. Suitable clothing to give may incorporate long robes and dresses for splendid shadings, hat or bokkeon in Korean word, tosu (wrist covers), and pastel-hued outfits. Traditional garments have a kid's name and symbols hand-sewn onto the texture.
Dol Ceremony Items
During the dol, an assortment of things is set on a stylized, ceremonial table. These incorporate books, threads, rice, scissors, and a pencil. Loved ones watch as a youngster goes after a thing. Whichever thing he goes after should anticipate his future. For instance, going after a book implies he will be a future scholar, a thread implies long life, and some scissors represent skilled and talented hands. These ceremonial things can be given as a birthday present so visitors can take an interest in assisting a kid with picking his future.
During the celebration, foods such as bowls of rice, seaweed soup (miyeok-guk 미역국), and water alongside rice cakes would be put on a table. The rice cakes, in lovely rainbow layers, and fruits are stacked. There are a few assortments of rice cakes to prepare for such an important celebration. Considered as most traditional rice cakes to prepare on the table are bulkunp'at gomul (red bean rice cake), Baekseolgi (steamed rice cake), ch'alsusu gyongdan, as well as osaek songp'yeon (5-shading moon rice cake). For instance, Baekseolgi has the importance of holiness. Bulkunp'at gomul is believed to avert the evil spirits, and songp'yeon speaks to nature's harmony when it comes with its five tones.
Food is stacked high to represent the existence of prosperity for the infant. On this day, celebratory food is served including sweet white rice cake that is appreciated and enjoyed to eat by everyone as an approach to "spread" wellbeing, love as well as prosperity for the kid. In Korean, hundred (baek) likewise implies white, which is the reason white rice cake is emblematic of this special occasion. This sweet rice cake (or baeksulgi) is traditionally passed out to 100 individuals, who are present in the celebration including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Right now, the samshin halmoni is regarded and honored with offerings of rice and soup in appreciation for having cared about the newborn child and the mother, and for having helped them to live through a difficult period. The family, relatives, and companions at that point celebrate with rice cakes, wine, and different delicacies, for example, red and dark bean cakes that are sweetened with sugar or honey.
To forestall possible mischief and harm to the child and to bring him or her in question the best of luck and happiness, red bean cakes are usually positioned at the four compass focuses inside the house. If ever that the steamed rice cakes are shared with 100 individuals, it is a great belief that the youngster will have a long life. Hence, rice cakes are normally sent off whatever number individuals as would be prudent to help celebrate the joy of the occasion. The individuals who get rice cakes return the vessels with skeins of string, which expresses the desire for life span, and rice and money, representing future abundance.
Such traditions are additionally important for the tol, or first birthday celebration of the baby. Due to the high baby death rates recorded in the past, this celebration is viewed as significantly more important. The same with the 100th-day festivity, it starts with offerings of rice and soup to the samshin halmoni. In any case, the very highlight of this celebration is the point at which the youngster emblematically foretells his or her own future.
Here are a few things to WHAT TO PREPARE FOR A BABY’S 100 DAY BIRTHDAY
Typically, hanbok is worn by birthday babies and it is paired with a traditional hat called a "jobawi" or "gulle" ( for girls) in Korean words, and "bokgeon" or "hogeon" ( for boys) in Korean words. Frequently, this is the time that an infant's first Hanbok is bought. If ever that you will need your baby to wear a Hanbok for the occasion, make a point to put them in the outfit a couple of times BEFORE the day of the real occasion to get them accustomed and comfortable to wear it, particularly that cap!
Doljabi (돌자비) ceremony — recognized as the primary event of the first birthday of the baby. An assortment of objects are put on a table or plate before the youngster and whatever the baby picks, it is believed to be the one that foretells his or her future.
Tteok — a Korean rice cake that is a must-to-buy for the baby's celebration. You can either make your own rice cakes at home or buy these at any Korean grocery store or bakery.
Next, you have to make a sign that says HAPPY 100 DAYS … insert the name of your baby.
To add decorations on your table or your signs, you can also buy several bouquets of flowers from your local grocery store. But still, it is all up to you fo you purchase one or not since it's optional.
Lastly, have a checklist of what kind of food and drink you'll serve during the celebration.
Koreans are putting so much emphasis on the history and tradition they have. This particular custom of celebrating the 100 Day Celebration is seen as more to address the sincerest appreciation and to remember that life is something to be grateful for and should never be taken for granted.
Although foods and decors are made modernly, the underlying symbolism will always remain not just today but also for centuries to come.