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What do Koreans grab on their first birthday?


Korean culture values the significance of a child’s first birthday, which is called “doljanchi.” This traditional occasion is celebrated with family and friends, and one of the most exciting parts of the celebration is when the child chooses an item from a table. But what exactly do Koreans grab on their first birthday?

The Table Setting

The table at a doljanchi is filled with various items that symbolize different futures for the child. These items include money, a pencil, a stethoscope, thread, rice, and more.

The Significance of Each Item

Each item on the table has a specific meaning. The money represents wealth and prosperity, the pencil symbolizes intelligence and academic success, the stethoscope represents a successful career in medicine or healthcare, and the thread symbolizes a long life. Rice represents abundance and fertility.

The Doljabi Game

The game that the child plays on their first birthday is called “doljabi.” The game involves placing various items in front of the baby and seeing which ones they pick up. Based on what the child picks up, it is believed they will have a successful future in that area.

How the Game Works

The game is played by placing objects in front of the baby and allowing them to choose one. The object that the baby picks up is believed to determine their future path in life.

Choosing an Item

The baby’s choice of item is seen as an indication of their future interests and talents. For example, if they pick up a microphone, they may have a future career in entertainment.

Family Participation

Family members often participate in doljabi by suggesting items to add to the table or encouraging the child to choose a particular item.

Modern Adaptations

As times change, the items on the doljabi table have evolved to include modern symbols of success. For example, a computer mouse may be included to represent a successful career in technology.

Gender-Specific Items

There are also gender-specific items on the table. For boys, items like a book or a gavel may be included to symbolize a future in law or politics. For girls, items like a lipstick or a hairbrush may be included to represent beauty and femininity.

The Importance of Doljabi

Doljabi is an important cultural tradition in Korea because it represents the hopes and dreams that parents have for their child’s future. It is also an opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate the child’s first year of life.


In conclusion, Koreans grab various items on their first birthday as part of the doljabi game. This game allows for family and friends to come together to celebrate and wish for a prosperous future for the child. The items on the table are carefully chosen to represent different paths in life, and the baby’s choice is seen as an indication of their future talents and interests. Doljabi is an important cultural tradition that signifies the importance of family and community in Korean culture.

What do the Korean first birthday grab items mean?

The first birthday grab is a traditional activity that is believed to predict a baby’s future. A tray with carefully chosen objects is presented to the baby, and everyone watches to see which item the baby will grab. The chosen item is said to represent the baby’s future job or life circumstances.

What is the first birthday grab?

The practice of the birthday grab originated in ancient times. During the child’s first birthday celebration, a selection of items would be presented to the child to choose from. The chosen item, if successfully given to the child’s parents, was thought to predict the child’s future career.

What do Korean children wear on their first birthday?

Hanbok is a traditional Korean dress, commonly worn by birthday babies along with a traditional hat such as a jobawi or gulle for girls and a bokgeon or hogeon for boys. This occasion is often when a baby’s first Hanbok is purchased.

What is the Korean baby grabbing tradition?

Doljabi is a customary practice where a baby is presented with different objects or items and is asked to select one or two items. Each selection represents a specific future career or lifestyle for the baby.

What is the 1st birthday tradition in Korea?

Dol or doljanchi is a significant ceremony in Korean culture that celebrates the first birthday of a baby and bestows blessings of a successful future upon the child.

What is first birthday food smash?

If you are not familiar with the term, a smash cake is a small cake designed for your child’s first birthday. Since one-year-olds tend to disregard manners, your child will probably enjoy the cake by using their hands, or by “smashing” their face into it as soon as they see it.

It is worth noting that the doljabi game is not only limited to Korea; it has become popular in other parts of the world as well. Many Korean families living abroad continue to celebrate this tradition to pass on their cultural heritage to their children.

The doljabi game is not just a fun and entertaining activity; it also has a deeper meaning. It represents the hopes and dreams that parents have for their child’s future success and wellbeing. It also emphasizes the importance of family and community support in achieving these goals.

In recent years, doljabi has become more elaborate, with some families hiring professional event planners to organize the celebration. The event may feature live music, entertainment, and a lavish spread of food and drinks. However, despite the modernization of the celebration, the core values of the tradition remain intact.

In conclusion, doljabi is a meaningful cultural tradition that celebrates a child’s first birthday in Korea. This tradition is steeped in symbolism and represents the hopes and dreams of parents for their child’s future success. It is an opportunity for family and friends to come together, share blessings, and build stronger relationships. Doljabi is an important part of Korean culture that continues to thrive and evolve with time.

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