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What do Koreans do on their first birthday?

What do Koreans do on their first birthday?

The Significance of First Birthday Celebrations

Korean culture places great importance on the first birthday, known as Doljanchi. The belief is that surviving the first year of life is a significant milestone and should be celebrated.

Preparation for Doljanchi

Parents start preparing for Doljanchi months in advance. They choose a date and location, invite guests, and select traditional Korean outfits for the child and family members.

The Meaning Behind Doljabi

One of the most significant aspects of Doljanchi is the Doljabi ceremony. Items such as coins, pencils, stethoscopes, and books are placed in front of the baby. The item that the baby chooses is believed to predict their future career or life path.

Food Served at Doljanchi

Korean cuisine plays a crucial role in Doljanchi celebrations. Tteok, or rice cakes, are served in various shapes and colors to symbolize longevity and prosperity.

Doljabi Items Explained

The meaning behind each item in the Doljabi ceremony has significant cultural significance. For example, choosing a stethoscope predicts a future in medicine or healthcare.

Traditional Korean Outfits at Doljanchi

Families dress up their children in traditional Korean hanboks for Doljanchi. These colorful and elegant outfits represent good fortune and are worn with pride.

Guests at Doljanchi

Family members and close friends are invited to celebrate the first birthday with the child’s family. It is customary to bring gifts such as money, gold jewelry or clothes for the child.

Entertainment at Doljanchi

Doljanchi celebrations include various forms of entertainment such as singing, dancing, and traditional games. These activities are meant to bring joy and happiness to the child and guests.

Modern Doljanchi Celebrations

While traditional aspects of Doljanchi are still prevalent, modern celebrations often incorporate western elements such as birthday cakes, balloons, and party favors.

Comparison to Western First Birthday Celebrations

While western cultures also celebrate first birthdays, they do not hold the same level of cultural significance as in Korean culture. First birthday celebrations in western cultures are often more focused on the child’s enjoyment rather than cultural traditions.


Doljanchi is a significant milestone in Korean culture that represents the survival of the first year of life. The ceremony’s traditional aspects, including the Doljabi ceremony, Korean cuisine, and hanboks, showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage.

What do Koreans grab on their first birthday?

Common Doljabi Items: If a pencil or brush is chosen, it represents that the baby will become knowledgeable. If money is selected, it indicates that the baby will have financial success. Rice represents a life of abundance, and if a thread is picked, it symbolizes longevity.

How do Koreans celebrate first birthday?

In Korea, it is customary to hold a special ceremony, known as Doljanchi, to celebrate a baby’s first birthday. This ceremony is intended to bestow blessings for the child’s successful and healthy life in the future. The highlight of the ceremony is known as Doljabi.

What is 1st birthday in Korean?

In Korean culture, the first birthday of a child is known as “dol” or “doljanchi”. This event used to hold significant importance as many infants did not survive past their first year due to limited medical knowledge and illnesses. Therefore, it was customary to celebrate the child’s first birthday with a large gathering.

What do Koreans do on their birthday?

In Korea, birthdays are celebrated with cake and candles like in the United States, but on New Year’s Day, everyone eats a special soup to signify aging. This means that a person’s age is calculated differently in Korea compared to the United States.

What do Koreans like to receive as gifts?

In Korea, health supplements, teas, vitamins, and red ginseng are popular gift items. For Korean in-laws, ginseng is a great option. Additionally, high-end food products like Hanwoo beef, expensive mushrooms, and wild ginseng can also be sent as gifts.

How are first birthdays celebrated?

Hosting a garden or playground party is a great way to celebrate a child’s first birthday. With the right decorations, food, and seating arrangements, it can be the perfect location for a fun and memorable celebration.

It is important to note that Doljanchi celebrations are not limited to traditional families or those who strictly follow Korean culture. Many modern Korean families who have immigrated to other countries still celebrate Doljanchi as a way to preserve their cultural heritage and pass it down to future generations.

In recent years, Doljanchi celebrations have also become popular among non-Korean families who want to incorporate aspects of Korean culture into their celebrations. This demonstrates the impact and influence that Korean culture has had on the world.

Overall, Doljanchi is a significant cultural celebration in Korea that represents the survival of the first year of life. The ceremony’s traditional aspects, including the Doljabi ceremony, Korean cuisine, and hanboks, showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage. As Korean culture continues to spread around the world, Doljanchi has become a way for people of all backgrounds to appreciate and honor this important milestone in a child’s life.

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