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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Birthday 가온

Last night, I went to the 1st birthday party for my co-worker's daughter! It was incredible, extravagant, and so much fun! This was the venue! ... not like any 1 year old's birthday party you've ever seen in the US, huh?!

Yes, looks like a wedding, but it's a birthday party for a 1 year old... and all Korean's do this for their kids 1st birthday! The tradition started about 50 years ago, when Korea was really poor and many babies were not making it past their 1st birthday due to illness and/or starvation. When babies made it past their 1st year of life, the families all gathered together to celebrate!! It wasn't until 10 or 15 years ago though that the traditional celebration moved from the family's home to a fancy ballroom!

This was one of the decoration tables... Each guest was given a number. We placed the number in one of the 6 glass jars on this table. They were each labeled with an item: computer mouse, pencil, microphone, stethascope, golf ball, and thread. Later in the party, 가온, pronounced Ga-Ohn, was sat infront of a tray with each of these items. Whichever one she picked up first would predict what she would become in the future. Keep reading to find out what she picked! :)

Their daughter has more adorable picture than any 1 year old I know! It was unreal!

These were on every table...

Here's Ga-Ohn with her beautiful mom! This was 1 of 3 outfits she wore throughout the night! The 2nd outfit was a mini-size-matching dress to the one her mom is wearing in this picture! (Yes, this the new tradition... for the mom to match the daughter.) The 3rd outfit change was into a traditional Korean Hanbok dress!

The very happy family! Jason is one of my co-workers. His Korean name is: Che Min Su

Once we had all said our hellos and congratulated the proud parents, we headed over to the buffet.... which was the most incredible buffet I've ever seen! They had food from all different nations...

...any and every kind of delicious soup and stew you could imagine...

... all kinds of fresh sashimi (raw fish)...

... every type of california roll you could imagine...
... and a desert table that any sugar feind would gawk over, myself included!

This was my desert plate!! mmmm FAT KID STYLE! :)

After dinner, Ga-Ohn hung out at our table and I was able to snap this picture of us together! I swear she was smiling right before it was taken! But as a side note, this is how a lot of babies look at me... kinda like, "Wow, lady. I've never seen anything like you. What planet are you from?!"

I'm really sad because the real action and excitement came after the dinner... and unfortunately, after my camera battery died! So, you'll just have to use your imagination as I explain what happened!

After dinner, they showed a slideshow of Jason and his wife and then of baby Ga-Ohn (videos and pictures). It was literally one of the best slideshows I've seen to date... and I've seen a lot, considering I was a film major and made them all the time in college! I got teary eyed quite a few times, and laughed really hard at some of the video portions.

After the slideshow, Jason, his wife, and Ga-Ohn all entered the room in the traditional Hanbok outfits and stood behind this beautifully decrated table. After their grand entrance, an M.C. appeared!

She was in her early 20's, absolutely adorable, and hilarious! I didn't know what she was saying, but I knew she was funny! She got the crowd all rawled (sp?) up and did really funny dances and stuff! She was also in charge of giving away the prizes! Guess who was the 1st winner?! MEEEEE!!!! I was so excited! She pulled my number from the jar and I came up to the front and had to do a little dance to get my gift! I hammed it up, of course!

I waited till I got home to open it, because I wanted to recharge my camera battery and get a picture of it before I opened it! Look what I won... a life supply of coffee!! hahaha. Good thing I love coffee now, huh?!

Okay, back to the party. Ga-Ohn ended up grabbing the computer mouse! So, looks like she's gonna be a computer genius! After giving away the prizes for having the winning ticket number, traveling the longest distance, and answering some random questions about Ga-Ohn, Jason took the mic and went on and on about how much he loves his wife and thanked her for being such a wonderful mother. It was a really sweet part of the party!
Then, an electric violinist came in and played a Bethoven song along with a soundtrack. (Really random!) Then, a guy dressed in a yellow character outfit bounced in the room and did a really funny dance with the MC, and then the party was over and everyone went home!

One last thing... In Korea, party guests don't bring toys or clothes, wrapped in beautiful boxes with fancy bows... rather, they simply give money in these money envelopes! It's common to give 50,000 won, which is about $40.00! Stella said it's to help pay for the buffet, which is 25,000 won, and then the other 25,000 is for the baby. I hate playing the foreigner card, so I gave the full 50,000 with a smile on my face! I was just excited to experience this celebration with Jason and his family! after leaving, I told Ella and Stella that I would have paid more than 50,000 to experience that again! It was a blast! :)

If and when I have kiddos, I think I might do this for their 1st birthday party's too! So, remember, you'll need to bring $40.00 to help me pay for it! wink, wink!

Happy birthday sweet Ga-Ohn!


  1. holy crap - cutest little kid ever? That firt picture of her is unreal. Looks like a blast!!

  2. Wow! That looks AMAZING! I want to have a party like that! So cool - thanks for sharing...I learned a lot! :)