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1st Birthday Traditions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My son is fast approaching his 1st birthday and all my friends and family are excited about it. I’m a bit crossed eyed trying to figure out how to honor both his West Indian and Korean cultural plus his American heritage.

What did you do for your child 1st Birthday? Did you just have an american party or did you include things from either parents culture?
post #2 of 7
It was 12 years ago today that we celebrated my eldest's 1st b-day.

Growing up, my DH's family didn't celebrate b-days much. The big baby celebration was the 1 month party & that was it.

I've heard of some Chinese-style celebrations where they put things for the child to grasp and then that points to a future career - but I think that was mainly for rich people. DH said when he was growing up sometimes they got to have an egg for breakfast on their b-days, and sometimes they had long-noodles (for long life).

The b-days we give for our kids are mostly Euro-American style, 'cause I would feel a bit let down if all we did was give our children bowls of noodles.

To celebrate my eldest's 1st b-day, I made a cake, bought a golden paper crown & some presents. I invited some friends w/ young kids/babies over in the early afternoon and drank coffee or wine and let the babies play for an hour or so and then put the crown on her head, lit a candle o& put it on the cake and sang the birthday song in 3 languages (English, Cantonese, & Putonghua).

What options are you and your partner considering? My DH and I almost always favor the low-key, relaxed option. YMMV.
post #3 of 7
Well, we had a normal American party (well... family and close friends and homemade cake...) and also we followed DH's tradition of cutting the first lock of hair soon after. Actually they shave baby's head on the first birthday (or that week or whatever) but you don't HAVE to. The important thing is that the first haircut is done by an elder around one year so DH's dad cut off a curl and I saved it.

We always try to do as much of both as possible. The American part is just, as far as I know, a get-together, right? So you can do pretty much anything you want with that. Good luck and let us know what you decide!
post #4 of 7
I mixed the 1st birthday party Korean/American - our Japanese side tradition begins again at age 3. On the kids birthday, they wore the traditional dol hanbok clothing (it looks very festive and they do stand out in it) and we did a toljaebee ceremony (the traditional table were the child grasp objects etc.). I have two cakes (tradition rice cake - my favorite and an american frosted cake - disgusting to me) that both get devoured. We had traditional seaweed soup and the rest was American foods. Oh, we did sing happy birthday in five different languages (to honor our mixed family), so much for the candle

An American party is just gathering for cake and ice cream, so there is not much to it.

My take on birthday parties is that it's YOUR kid so do what will make your child and you happy and less stressed Good luck and blessings in whatever you decide to do!
post #5 of 7
I'm half Korean so DS is only 1/4 Korean, but we also dressed William in a hanbok and did the toljaebee ceremony (he chose a book). We didn't really do any special foods.
You can order an inexpensive hanbok on ebay. That's where we got ours!
Google "Korean first birthday" and you should come up with a bunch of good info.
Daniel is beautiful, Mama!
post #6 of 7
for boys in my husband's family (India) they do the head shaving. some families (most perhaps?) do it for all kids. we'll consider it for a boy but not for my little girl :0
post #7 of 7
We did the head shaving and ear piercing for my dd1, travelling all the way to India to do it. She didn't have much hair anyway. LOL! With dd2 we were unable to travel, and boy the time we took her at age 3 she did not want to have her head shaved. We did save all her hair from haircuts from birth to that time and gave it to the temple as a symbolic gesture. We had a big homa (fire ceremony) for each child for their first bday-- although dd2's was at 3 years old and she shared it with her 1 year old cousin. They call the priest to the house, have the ceremony, and then there are coins placed into the fire that are retrieved afterwards and kept for life.

ammcmaho, not all Indian families shave thier kids' heads at one year. It just depends on family tradition.
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