Invitation by http://www.dohlpostersnmore.com/
(dol or doljanchi - 돌 or 돌잔치):
For a first birthday, a child is dressed in traditional Korean clothes. A key part of the celebration is the doljabee ceremony (dol=first birthday; jabee=grasp) where the child is seated before a table on which various foods and objects have been placed. He/she is then encouraged to pick one or two of these. According to tradition, the first or second choice foretells the infant's future.
For example, if the object is a:
ball of string: the child will have a long life
bow and arrow: the child will become a warrior or have a military career
jujube: the child will have many descendants
book, pencil, brush: the child will be a successful scholar
ruler: the child will be talented with his/her hands
money or rice: the child will be wealthy
cakes or other foods: the child will be a government official
The traditional gift for a Korean child's first birthday is tiny baby jewelry in the way of rings and bracelets made of 24K gold. These precious gifts were considered lucky and were highly valued as pure gold did not lose its value. The jewelry was often kept to give to the child when they went to college.
Unfortunately, this tradition started dying out as the price of gold skyrocketed making small rings that cost $60-$70 in the mid 2000's cost over $240 today!
Many Koreans now choose to give gifts of cash or other gifts for the baby. However, not wanting to lose this beloved tradition, the Korean government encouraged jewelers to make much smaller rings that weigh less but cost about the same as the tradition pieces did before the spike in price.
Comparing a traditional baby ring with the smaller rings of today.