We went to Dave's -->cousin's--> daughter's (got that?) 1st birthday party - aka 'Tol" or "Dol". Her name is Hanna. She is such a cutie.
A 1st birthday is a very significant event in Korea. In recent history (as of 50 years ago), the mortality rate for children was high and many did not survive to see their 1st birthday. So this is an important milestone to the Koreans and a reason to celebrate big.
Technically, there are four parts to the traditional ceremony:
- Praying for the child's longevity and giving thanks to God (or birth god)
- Dressing the child-of-honor in colorful and dressy clothes that symbolize long life (with a double-wrapped belt) and luck (a pouch/pocket)
- Preparing a table with ritual food and conducting the Toljabee ceremony
- Sharing food with guests and neighbors
On this tray there were:
Money - she will be wealthy
String - for long life
Fruit - for many descendents
Pencils - she'll be a scholar
A couple of mini balls (basketball, etc...) - she will be an athlete
Bible - she would work for the church (minister)
She chose...the mini balls! One right after the other. It was so funny to watch her parents try to get her to take the money! I thought for sure that she would go for the pencils because they were bright colored with long fuzzy feathers on the end. (I found out that this is a trick that some parents do to try and entice their child to take the item the parent wants them to take. My sister-in-law suggested I put a couple of fat highlighters on the tray.)
Side story -- Dave bought a new plunger the other day and it was in the living room by the front door. It was clean, still had the tag on it... We hadn't gotten around to putting everything away yet and Sabrina was playing in the living room. I walked away for a sec and when I came back there she was sitting by the front door playing with the plunger with a huge grin on her face. I asked Dave how freaked out would his family be if we put the plunger on the tray as one of the items for her to choose from at her tol.
It would be bigger than everything else on the tray, she would be sure to grab it. Then we could clap and yell, "Yay! She's going to be a plumber!!!" Nothing against all you plumbers out there (one of Sabrina's auntie's is a pipe fitter and she kicks ass as a woman in a man's world) ...but we're pretty sure that some of the auntie's would freak. Ohhhh, but it would be hysterical. Definite Kodak moment.
There was a lot of good homemade Korean food, lots of pictures, yummy Asian style birthday cake with fruit. Dave's family got a good laugh out of the fact that he brought his own plastic container to his aunt's house to bring some homemade kimchi in. It is GOOD!
For those of you doing the math, yes Sabrina is turning 1 very soon! Can you BELIEVE it? And not to make this about me...but Sabrina turning 1 means the deadline I set for myself to get rid of these last 18 pounds from the pregnancy is FAST approaching.
Ok, back to Sabrina.
Sabrina's Tol is coming up in late September. All of our siblings, a couple of aunties and a couple of very close friends who live near us will br attending. I just sent out the 'save the date' cards and all I can say is that everyone should be prepared to wear elastic waist pants because there is going to be a LOT of food.
Here are a couple of family photos. We don't get many of the 3 of us together, so enjoy!!!