Dahbin is a Korean man from Portland, Oregon whose parents are, as he puts it, “extremely conservative Koreans who take traditions weirdly and annoyingly seriously.”
Dahbin: “A Korean’s first birthday is, like, a huge deal. Like, it goes on for five days. In the past, Korea was extremely poor, so most babies would not live to see their first birthday. So, like, in Korea, when you’re born you are considered a one year old already because they want to be able to say that the baby lived at least for one year before it died. Basically, a Korean’s first birthday is more like a huge party, almost like a five day bar mitzvah (laughs).”
When a Korean turns one year old.
I like how the Koreans have taken such a sad phenomenon of their past and turned it into such a positive celebration in the present. Growing up in Korea years ago must have been extremely difficult, but nowadays they celebrate the lives of the living children by making their first birthdays such a great spectacle. This tradition truly puts life into perspective, showing me just how lucky I was to have grown up in such a great place.