Doljanchi Tradition

Text: “In Korea, we wish for health, wealth, and intelligence. That’s something that’s really big when someone turns one year old. There are different objects that you put in front of the baby, whatever they grab signifies something. For example, a string signifies longevity in your life. If the baby reaches for a ball, that symbolizes athleticism.”

Context: The informant is Korean-American. Her parents immigrated from Korea but the informant grew up in the United States and moved around different states as a child. The informant is 21 years old and she currently attends the University of Southern California. The informant has grown up with the Korean culture of wishing for good health and intelligence. The informant participated in the activity described as a baby, also known as Doljanchi. In this ceremony, many objects are placed in front of the baby such as books, a ball, string, a paintbrush, and money. She has also seen some of her younger cousins have a Doljanchi celebration. This celebration is commonly celebrated throughout Korea and among Korean Americans. 

Analysis: This information was very intriguing to me because I hadn’t learned much about it prior to interviewing my informant. I had briefly heard about it but didn’t know a lot of the details. The Dolijanchi is so interesting to me because it brings up the question of how developed are humans at one year old. If the baby can choose an item that determines how they’ll act as an adult, how psychologically developed are they? From what I understand, the parents must love to see the Dolijanchi and then compare the result of the ceremony to how the child acts growing up.