Saturday, October 8, 2011

My First, Her First - Korean First Birthday

When I was young, I like going for buffet. Firstly, my parents will pay for my share and secondly, I like the varieties of food. However, I think growing up changes how you think and react. Of course I still like going to buffet but I am no more into eating as much as I can.

I like the atmosphere. I cherished the feel of being at peace while having a nice simple dinner by the sea, with live band jazzing near me. That was in Penang but now in Korea, I like observing people and taking pictures. I was invited to first birthday party (첫돌) by my former Korean language teacher last month.

Her daughter just turned a year older. So like every Koreans, she and her husband organized a small party for family and friends to celebrate this occasion. In Korea, the biggest occasions are the New Year's Day (following the Lunar calendar) and Korean Thanksgiving (추석 or Chuseok) so Korean First Birthday is not a very grand event.

The best gift to give on Korean First Birthday is still money! The standard amount to give is between 30,000 Won to 50,000 Won depending on your relationship to her/him. By the way, you can give more. (Source : My Korean Classmate) And unlike in Chinese family, do not cuddle the baby!

During that dinner, I was the only foreigner. It sucks to be the only one but I practiced my Korean so it was okay... There, one of my former Korean language teachers was as sharp as a hawk correcting every mistakes I made while speaking in Korean. Nice experience huh? -_-"

Luckily I can understand her, if not she will be like talking to a frying pan. Oops. What did I do there? And what happened next? Okay okay. We arrived at SeaHouse restaurant around 6pm but most guests were still not around. Like every typical Korean First Birthday party or wedding ceremony, it starts and ends very quickly. So, we were asked to eat first. After dinner, there was a short video presentation of the child.

My first round - The pizza and 파전 (Korean pancake) were way below expectation

My second/last helping - Rambutans (Hmmn) but the best was the yogurt

After that, there's a game session and finally, the climatic event! The What-is-she/he-going-to-be-in-future event - the child should select an item from a tray carefully arranged with a huge coin, a bow (very uncommon), a small toy and a book or a bible (?).

If the baby picked the huge coin, she is going to be someone working in field of study relating to money and maybe she's going be rich someday (most Korean parents always wish for that), if it's a bow, she will excel in sports, a toy (I am still not very sure what is the meaning of it) and finally a book (She will be a well learned person). She picked the bow.

Then, both my teacher and her husband read out oath of responsibility to each of their parents-in-law like "I promise I will be a good wife to my husband", "I will be a good daughter/son to you" and so forth. And, it was all over~

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~