Philadelphia Family Photographer: Korean First Birthday Party (Dol)
You might remember Abby’s pinch-able cheeks from the family photo shoot we had at Race Street Pier a few weeks ago. Abby’s parents asked me to photograph her first birthday celebration, or dol, at Franklin Square Pavilion.
It was a big day for little Abby, who looked smashing in her hanbok, which she changed into during the doljabi ceremony, a Korean tradition that celebrates the first birthday of a baby. The first year of life is important in Korean culture due to high infant mortality rates in the past. If a child reaches their first birthday, a special ceremony is planned to bless the child and begin to look to the future.
During the doljabi, the baby is supposed to pick an item that determines his or her future. Abby’s choices were: a book (scholar), money (good fortune), rice (abundant life), and string (long life). Family and friends were encouraged to fill out raffle tickets to place their votes for which item Abby would choose. I put my ticket in for rice (who doesn’t love rice?), but I was wrong! It didn’t take her long to dart to the $20 bill, which had everyone cracking up.
One of the main elements of a dol is a table piled high with different types of Korean food. The bean towers and rice cakes were so detailed and pretty, especially the mujigae ddeok, which had rainbowed layers of cake.
I’m so in love with all of the details her parents put together for the party. Not only did everything come out beautifully, but you can really tell how much they loved creating it. Her dad put together a lovely slideshow with photos and videos of their first year together. I’ll admit, I got a bit misty watching it and seeing how quickly Abby has grown in just a year.
The party finished up with Abby enjoying her black bean smash cake (a small cake made especially for the baby to smash). She kept trying to feed me some when I was taking her photos, and it was hard to resist. Abby’s mom made the cake and it looked yum-my.
It was my first time shooting at The Pavilion in Franklin Square, which is surrounded by cute carousel horse displays. There is a giant carousel right outside the pavilion in the park, along with a Philly-themed mini golf course, which I definitely want to check out sometime this summer.
Thanks again to Abby’s parents for including me in her birthday celebration. I had a wonderful time and can’t get over all of the cute babies who were present. The one with the feathered hat fascinator? Unreal. Here’s to Abby’s continued good fortune!