Korean Tradition That’s Going Viral

There’s a new Korean tradition that’s capturing attention and getting people to participate in a 1st birthday in an unusual but very interesting way. It has an aspect of fortune-telling and blessing the baby that’s being celebrated. The whole aspect is captivating and it gathers family members and friends alike because of its inherited fun nature. The celebration that’s going viral is Doljabi.

Doljabi is a Korean tradition that’s specifically held at a first Korean birthday celebration which is also known as Dol. This tradition where a baby is placed in front of several items each with their own unique representation is urged to choose items so that the parents could predict the future career or blessing of the baby.

Doljabi started gaining traction in the mid-2000s and has gained tremendous traction as Korean Pop Stars have amassed fans globally. Korean Pop Stars such as BTS have promoted Korean culture which has caused a shift in awareness of Korean culture in previous individuals who were once indifferent about it. It caused such a ripple effect that traditions unrelated to Korean pop stars have gained traction like Doljabi.


Why is Doljabi going Viral?

Doljabi by its nature is an adored tradition by Koreans and practiced by many native Koreans because of the importance of it. It’s a celebration that welcomes the Korean baby into this world, and that’s very important for Koreans because they’re family-centric.

However, the popularity seems to be within its indigenous people and hasn’t gained as much adoption overseas, and this is where the influence of Korean pop stars has kicked in. Korean pop stars without doubt have influence over fashion, interest, and cultural adoption, especially over their fans.

With BTS raging success overseas, many people have adopted modern hanboks and regained focus on Korean culture whether it be subconsciously or consciously and that has caused a cultural shift amongst Koreans overseas. With Koreans seeing their native people on T.V and being talked about amongst their peers and children of family friends, they too are reminded of their cultural roots and have prepared some to dive back into their roots by practicing Korean traditions like Doljabi.

Google trend shows the rise of Doljabi related keyword searches and has seen exponential growth since the 2000s. In the United States, people are celebrating Doljabi in numbers never seen before in the past and this tradition is only growing in number due to its inherent fun factor for the baby, host, and guests of the party.


What’s needed for Doljabi?

If you’re due for a firstborn soon or have a baby that’s about to turn 1 relatively soon, then this might be the perfect idea for your baby’s first birthday. It’s fun and 70% of the planning is already completed because the structure of Doljabi is just one search away on the internet.

All you need to prepare for a Doljabi is a Doljabi Set and if you really want to dive into Korean culture, a baby hanbok. Conveniently, all of this can be found at a Korean Baby Hanbok Shop. Usually, Doljabi Sets and baby hanboks are paired together because baby hanboks are most needed for this specific celebration.

Many commenters on YouTube lauded BLACKPINK’s outfits and new looks.

One fan wrote, “Outfits are just gorgeous. Can I have a catalog of the girls’ outfits?” Another wrote, “OMG I can only see their outfits and their nails.”

Danha, a designer who produced modified hanbok for Jennie and Rose, explained that BLACKPINK’s stylist team further stylized the outfits to make sure they do not hinder the artists’ movements.

“Rose’s hanbok was inspired by cheollik, military officials’ clothes, while Jennie’s hanbok is a phoenix robe, which was worn by classical scholars during the Joseon Kingdom,” Danha said.

“After launching the global online mall, the number of daily visitors and foreign customers have increased dramatically. About half of the buyers are from the U.S., followed by China, Europe, and Southeast Asia,” she said.

Rose’s hanbok outfit was inspired by “cheollik,” military officials’ clothes. Courtesy of Danha


Distorting tradition?

Danha also responded to the criticism that “modernized” hanbok designs are distorting authentic tradition. The designer agreed that although people may differ on their beliefs regarding maintaining tradition, what is more, essential is to keep the core of tradition in their hearts.

“I’m worried that traditional hanbok is losing its place in society,” Keum Jong-suk, a professor at the Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, said during an open forum on the subject of “Wearing Our Dress Right” held in 2018.

“Making modernized hanbok does not mean I don’t respect our tradition or treat it lightly. I want to promote that hanbok has more diverse charms than showcasing elegant and feminine traits. I’d also like hanbok to gain a foothold in overseas fashion markets,” Danha said.

BLACKPINK is not the first K-pop act to incorporate elements of Korean traditional clothes into K-pop.

In 2018, BTS donned stylish black and yellow hanbok outfits while dancing on a digitally generated yellow pavilion in their music video for “Idol.”

Earlier in May, BTS’s Suga appeared in a music video for his solo track “Daechwita” wearing hanbok, fusing elements of traditional Korean music and visuals. The term “daechwita” refers to a genre of Korean traditional music performed with wind and percussion instruments usually at a king’s parade or military ceremonies.

Culture Minister Park Yang-woo praised Suga for infusing traditional elements into his music, recommending the song to foreign students in Korea.

The Hanbok Advancement Center said although there are a few who perceive BLACKPINK’s hanbok outfits as sabotaging traditional heritage, it is overall exciting to note that the K-pop act successfully promoted hanbok to the world.

“Excessive regulation on the shape of hanbok may threaten or undermine the youth culture adoption of wearing hanbok in everyday life. So we are trying to create a desirable hanbok culture through various businesses and promotional campaigns rather than regulations,” the center official said.

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