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By Choi Hye-seon, Student Editor
Birthday Celebrations in Korea
Korean people normally eat two things on their birthday: cake and brown seaweed soup. They have brown seaweed soup, called ‘Miyeok-gook’ in Korean, on the morning of their birthday. Most have a party with their friends and family. People put candles one their birthday cake, one candle for each year of their life. . Some people eat rice cake instead of cake. There are some special birthdays as well. A year after a baby is born, parents throw a special birthday party called ‘Dol’ in Korean. The baby chooses one thing among various items like a piece of thread, a pencil, and money, and this event is called ‘Dol jobi’. Koreans think that the items are related to the baby’s life. For example, choosing the thread means the baby will have a long life; if the baby chooses a pencil, the baby is expected to study hard. People also have a big birthday party when they turn 60, 70 or 80 years old. Originally, people celebrated these birthday parties because few people reached their 60th birthday.Nowadays, however, people are living longer and fewer people have a special party at these ages.
Jeongwol Daeboreum is the 15th day of the first lunar month. Traditionally, this day is very important as much as the New Year’s Day, Seolnal’. On this day, the moon is full moon. People drink liquor which is called Guibalgisool’ and think that they can hear clearly and hear only good words during the year through it. Koreans also eat boiled rice with four other staple cereals and various vegetables. The boiled rice is called Ogokbab and the greens are called Namul in Korean. They also bite and eat diverse nuts like walnut and chestnut to guard themselves against boils for a year and these nuts are called Boorum. Korea is originally based on agriculture and people tell fortunes of the year’s good harvest on this day through some ways. One of the ways is burning Daljib, a pile of branches or something like that. People think that they shall probably have a good harvest that year if the Daljib is burned evenly. They also play some traditional games like Jwiboolnoli, spinning blazing cans. Nowadays, tradition of ‘Jeongwol Daeboreum is faded a lot and people usually just keep the convention of eating the boiled rice, greens and nuts.