Last Saturday I had the honor and privilege of photographing a Doljanchi; a Korean tradition that celebrates the 1st birthday. It was incredible.
First a little history about a Doljanchi; In the past, the death rates for children were high and many children died before their first birthday, so it was an important milestone to the baby and parents. The whole village used to celebrate a baby’s first birthday, sharing foods and wishing for long life and fortune for the baby. The highlight is a Doljabi, where the child is place in front of many different items. The child then chooses and it is said to foretell their future.
When I arrived in the door, the first thing that I saw an amazing room full of paper flowers, rice candy, cupcakes, and photo confetti. The first thing I smelled was the most yummy (and I mean yummy) Korean food. The gift bags were piled high on the stairs, and laughter filled the air. Miss A’s mother came out in a tradition Korean gown, glowing and beautiful, Miss A matched with a traditional hanbok.
I watched with bewilderment and curiosity as the day went on, taking photos of everything I could. Miss A chose a tennis ball for her Doljabi – she is destined to be an athlete! The family graciously made me a plate of food to go, and I left with a new-found love for Korean traditions!