Dol or doljanchi is a Korean tradition that celebrates the first birthday of a baby. This ceremony blesses the child with a prosperous future and has taken on great significance in Korea. The reason is that in the past, the death rates for children were high and many children died before their first birthday, so it was an important milestone for the baby and parents. The whole village used to celebrate a baby’s first birthday, sharing food and wishing for long life and fortune for the baby.
The highlight of the dol is a ritual where the child is placed in front of a table of foods and objects such as string, brushes, ink and money. The child is then urged to pick up an object from the table. It is believed the one selected will foretell the child’s future. For example, if the child picks up a brush or book, he/she is destined to be smart. If he/she picks up money he will be wealthy; If he/she picks up food that means he/she will not be hungry. If the child picks up the thread, it is believed he/she will live a long life.