Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Traditional Tol Celebration

How's your weekend people?! It is Monday once again! Wohooo! So here's my entry for Blue Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday, and Ruby Tuesday this week. Photos were taken when we visited the National Folk Museum of Korea (02/01/10).
In the past, due to a lack of medical information, Korea's seasonal temperature differences, and many childhood related diseases, the death rate for children was extremely high. Many children died before their first birthday. After the age of one year, the survival rate steeply increased, making this milestone a very happy one for the child's parents. It has also been a custom to celebrate a child's 100 day birthday (baek-il) , but in most areas this birthday is less important than the Tol and any celebrations are smaller in scale.

Tol has two meanings in Korean. The most common meaning is a child's first birthday. It can also be used as a generic description for birthdays: Chut-tol (first birthday), Du-tol (second birthday), Seo-tol (third birthday), etc.

In this event, the birthday child goes around the table and picks up items that attract him or her. The child's future is predicted according to the what he or she grabs. After placing the child in front of the table, the child's father becomes the guide for the child to go around the table and grab whatever he or she wants. The first and second items the child grabs are considered the most important. Usually Korean parents place the items that they want the child to choose near to the edge of the table. The child's future is predicted according to the items:

-bow and arrow: the child will become a warrior
-needle and thread: the child will live long
-jujube: the child will have many descendants
-book, pencil, or related items: the child will become a successful scholar
-rice or rice cake: the child will become rich (some resources say choosing a rice cake means the child is not smart)
-ruler, needle, scissors: the child will be talented with his/her hands
-knife: the child will be a good cook

source: lifeinkorea.com