Choose Your Destiny, Korea

Choose Your Destiny, Korea

Last week my Spanish class compared different countries with Latin American countries and as each student presented I felt as If I learned something new and fascinating each time. One of my Korean classmates chose to have her presentation on Dol, the Korean first birthday celebration, a tradition I had never heard of before. So, I wish to introduce Dol to everyone who like me before, is not familiar of what this Korean tradition is about.

Dol is a huge and popular celebration of a child’s first birthday in Korea. It became so popular since childhood diseases were so common and it was rare for a child to live to be one year old. To begin the celebration, the family starts with a prayer to their Korean gods. During this time, a table is laid out with a bundle of food stacked to symbolize prosperity for the child. Common treats found at the table are rice cakes and fruits.

After this part of the celebration, comes what I thought to be the most fascinating part where the child selects his/her own future. This ritual involves the child to be placed on a table in front of everyone with three or four objects placed in front of them. These objects usually include a string, pencil (or brush), money, and a bow and arrow. The child chooses an object and whatever it chooses is said to be their future. A string symbolizes long life, a pencil means the child will become a scholar, money obviously means they will be wealthy, and a bow and arrow means they will be a warrior.

This Korean tradition began several years ago and I’m glad to discover that it stills continues among Koreans as a popular celebration that demonstrates the Korean culture in such a charming way. 

By: Alondra Sierra

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