The Dol

“Back in the old country when medicine would be scarce and people would die incredibly young, it was a feat for a baby to live past the age of one. That is why now, the baby’s first birthday is incredibly important in Korean culture. It is…so highly celebrated…On a first birthday, it is traditional to put out objects that can determine the baby’s future. Like, they put out money, a pencil, a microphone…and some other items. I forget. I haven’t been to a Dol in such a long time. Actually they just put out the microphone. Like, since the tradition was available for years, now because the entertainment industry is recent. Basically, the baby will crawl to oneo f the obejcts. If the baby crawls to the pencil, they will become a teaher. If they crawl to the microphone, they will be famous, and if they go to the money they will be rich.”

Context/Analysis: The informant first heard about the Dol tradition during her own Dol, but does not really remember it because she was so young. Later in her life, she went to more Dols and gained more information on how they proceed and are performed. She has been to two other Dols. They are significant to her because they were the Dols of her first cousins. The Dol is a tradition that has been significant/practiced since Ancient times. It is supposed to symbolize a liminal point, in which after your Dol, you have chosen your future.

For another version of this, please see: Sung, Hannah. What a Dol. 29 Vol. Toronto: Rogers Publishing Limited, 2012.