I posted about “dol” or first birthday in the past. Although my son is Korean and my husband’s family is traditional, we didn’t celebrate his first birthday last year the traditional way. Instead of having just one big party, he had three small ones. About a month before his actual birthday, we celebrated with my family and friends in the Philippines. The weekend before the date of his birth, we had a “han-woo” (Korean beef) dinner with my husband’s family and friends. And on the exact date of his natal day, my pinay friends in Seoul and their kids celebrated with us.
Last year, my father-in-law celebrated his 70th birthday or “go-hui”. The 60th birthday is called “hwan-gap” or 환갑. The “hwan-gap” is celebrated more lavishly, like you see in Korean dramas. For my FIL’s “go-hui”, the whole family with some relatives and close friends just had a dinner at a pricey restaurant. We had a multi-course Korean dinner (“han-jeong-shik”) at Jahamun in Jongro-gu.
We wore the hanbok at this important occasion. I didn’t really enjoy the dinner because of my son who was having a really bad mood that day, but the food was greattttt! (I didn’t enjoy the dinner because I wasn’t able to eat everything that was served.) The restaurant had the best chapchae (Korean chopsuey?) I ever had.
In a “go-hui” (or even a “hwan-gap”) ceremony, the parents sit at the main banquet table with all the ceremonial rice cake and fruits (most of which are fake) in front of them. The sons and daughter(s) and their spouses take their turns to bow and offer wine to the parents. This is done according to age. The grandchildren then take their turn in paying respects, followed by the other relatives and friends.
After the ceremony is done, we had our pictures taken. Since I was part of the ceremony (and I was taking care of my son), I wasn’t able to hold the camera. With the pictorial done, we then sat at the banquet table and were served the multi-course meal. It could have been a really good meal (at 150K won per head it should be!), but like I’d said I wasn’t able to eat or taste every meal that was served. Sayang!