Hello, everybody! Last week, my family and I drove down to Los Angeles in southern California for my cousin’s son’s first birthday. I made an adorable giraffe stuffed animal for little baby Benjamin. In this post, I also shed a bit of insight into the Korean culture as I explain the significance of first birthdays. I hope you like it!
In the Korean culture, first birthdays, known as 돌 (dol), are a big celebration because in the past, many babies unfortunately did not survive past that age due to the poor economy. Many families did not bother registering their baby’s birth because of the low survival rate. However, once a baby reached the age of one, the probability that he or she would survive increased significantly, which is why 돌(dol) is such a happy event.
The celebration of 돌 (dol) is known as 돌잔치 (doljanchi). 돌잔치 (doljanchi) is basically a first birthday party but its history makes it much more meaningful. At 돌잔치 (doljanchi), there is an event segment where a few items are placed in front of the baby. Each item symbolizes the baby’s future. For example, a golf ball symbolizes that the baby will become an athlete and a pencil symbolizes that the baby will be very studious. The first two items that the baby picks represent his or her future. Baby Benjamin picked a stethoscope, which represents a career in medicine, and a bundle of thread, which symbolizes long life. If I remember correctly, I believe I was told that I picked money and pencil at my 돌잔치 (doljanchi), meaning I would be rich and smart. Hopefully that is the case! Interestingly enough, I am a business major!
Baby Benjamin was conceived after ten years of trying, so you can just imagine how precious he is to his wonderful parents.
It was so nice to meet other family members I had not seen in quite a while and some newer family members from my cousin’s husband’s side!
The last time I saw my cousin was eight years ago, so it was great to see her again! Plus, seeing her long-awaited baby made everything that much more exciting!
The link to the amigurumi giraffe pattern is here. It wasn’t an intensive project at all so don’t be intimidated by it. It was fun to see all the little pieces come together in the end.
I hope you found this blog post interesting and learned a thing or two about the significance of first birthdays in Korea given its history. As always, thank you so much for reading, and until next time,