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Our little dragon’s first birthday “choosing ceremony”

September 19, 2014

An actual post on Vegan8Korean! It’s horrible how long we go between posts nowadays. I’m going to blame our son, because he is too young to defend himself! 😉 So it is fitting to post a long overdue post about a Korean tradition, the “choosing ceremony” or 돌잡이.

Long, long ago, before his first birthday, I shared a post about his 100th day celebration. That was a fun celebration with lots of food and friends, but we really went all out for this first birthday. We cooked some of our own food, but also ordered some vegan japchae and a few other dishes from one of our local Korean restaurants as we had so many guests in attendance. We even baked a three-tier birthday cake since we don’t have any vegan bakers nearby, and topped it with a teddy bear shaped cake that Tevyn got to eat by himself!

Traditional Korean hanbok

Tevyn wore the hanbok his 할머니 sent over from Korea because we definitely had to have him in traditional clothes for his choosing ceremony. The choosing ceremony is done on the first birthday. You set out a variety of items around the child that symbolize different prophecies for the child’s life. Whatever item the child chooses, foretells what his life will be like.

Korean choosing ceremony

For example, paper money is one item that is set out and symbolizes that the child will be wealthy if it is chosen (a popular choice for Korean mom’s to root for!). Rice also represents wealth. Rice cakes represent good health and luck. Toy swords or bow and arrows represent a successful career in the military. Books, scrolls, and calligraphy brushes or pen and paper represent the child being a scholar. Long noodles and yarn or string represent a long life. Grains of rice represent Finally, there is what Tevyn chose:

choosing dates

After considering the bow and arrow, he grabbed tightly onto the dried Korean dates (he eats very well). The dates represent that he was have plentiful and strong offspring. Our neighbor, who has a daughter a little older than Tevyn took this as meaning we have a little Casanova on our hands and promptly declared that he was going to keep an eye on the two of them from now on. In reality, it is less about his powers of romance and more a forecast that our little dragon will be bringing some more vegans into the world down the road!

choosing dates


9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2014 10:04 pm

    Beautiful boy! He looks like a little prince! Happy Birthday!

  2. Connie permalink
    September 19, 2014 11:03 pm

    Congratulations, and Happy 1st Birthday to Tevyn! He looks so adorable and so handsome in his han-bok. He’s rocking that colour palette, esp. the turquoise. Also, those rice cakes are making me hungry. I love the red bean filling.

    • Bill permalink*
      September 20, 2014 8:11 am

      Haha! Thanks, Connie!

  3. apparatusblue permalink
    February 8, 2015 7:18 pm

    Please don’t stop posting – you are amazing 🙂 Hope you and your family are well – Best wishes!

    • Bill permalink*
      February 10, 2015 9:21 pm

      I know, I know. We’re horrible. Some day we’re going to be able to take a breath, and we’ve got a backlog of posts to make when that day comes! 😛 Thanks for checking in on us and best wishes to you as well!

  4. February 24, 2015 9:33 pm

    I bet those dates were delicious! They look like jujubes

  5. February 24, 2015 9:33 pm

    more vegans in the world is a good thing!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      February 25, 2015 6:20 am

      Haha, you’re right! 😉

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