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Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Exhibition news: “Dol” – baby’s first birthday celebration in Korea

As part of this year’s Kingston Korean Festival, Korean British Cultural Exchange (KBCE) is presenting an exhibition at Kingston Museum:

‘DOL’ – baby’s first birthday celebration in Korea

31 August – 3 October 2017
Kingston Museum | Wheatfield Way | Kingston upon Thames KT1 2PS
Tue, Fri, Sat: 10am to 5pm | Thu: 10am to 7pm | Mon, Wed, Sun: closed

Dol exhibition

‘Dol’ is baby’s first birthday celebration in Korea. The exhibition will display a set of beautiful Korean traditional dress (‘Hanbok’) for the one-year-old baby boys and girls along with a table for ‘Doljabee’ ceremony. ‘Dol’ is traditionally the most celebrated birthday in Korea and it represents very unique and authentic Korean culture.

‘Doljabee’ ceremony is the main celebration of ‘Dol’ whereby the birthday baby is invited to grab an item on the table which is presented with various items symbolising different talents or skills. The item the baby picks up is said to predict the baby’s future. Below is the list of the items traditionally used and their meanings:

  • Arrow and bow: athlete, solider, police or being brave
  • Book, ink, ink stone, brush: scholar or being smart
  • Money: prosperity and wealth
  • Handheld mirror: entertainer
  • Jujube fruit: growth of the family
  • Mapae (Badge of Royal Secret Agent): civil servant, lawyer or politician
  • Pouch made of five different coloured fabrics: being lucky
  • Rice: land owner
  • Needle cushion, reel of thread, thimble: artist, designer, or good housewife
  • Thread of five different colours: a vibrant life
  • White long string or thread: longevity

A Korean traditional costume designer, Ms Hae Mi Lee, has kindly donated a set of Korean traditional dress to the Kingston Museum for better relationship between Korean and local people of Kingston.

Hae Mi Lee

Lee Hae-miThe set of Korean traditional dress (‘Hanbok’) is designed and donated by Ms Hae Mi Lee. Ms Lee is a Hanbok designer and has learnt the techniques from her mother in law who was a Hanbok and soft furnishing designer for over fifty years and is known to have designed soft furnishing/bedding for three of the past Korean presidents. Ms Lee was also trained under Mr Park Kwang Hoon who is a designated cultural intangible property of Korean traditional stitching and cloth making.

Ms Lee gives new dimension to Hanbok by use of modern fabrics, patterns and cuts. She runs her own Hanbok brand, Saimdang by Ms Hae Mi Lee and is also a senior lecturer at the Soongeui Women’s University.


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