April 22, 2024

I was so honored when the Choe family reached out to me to capture their little girl’s first birthday festivities. Not only had I photographed baby Erin’s newborn portraits, I now had the opportunity to document another milestone for their family. In the Korean culture, the first birthday, known as “dohl”, is a cause for celebration. Back in the days when infant mortality rate was high, the dohl was a blessing of longevity and prosperity. Parts of the ceremony include food displayed on a serving table, stacked high to represent long life, as well as a doljabi event where symbolic objects are laid out for the child to choose from. The item which s/he choses represents their future life and career prospects.

In our modern times, though infant mortality is no longer common, reaching one’s first birthday is always a reason for festivity! The Choe family opted for a quiet and intimate celebration with family after a busy season of a cross-country move, adding a new family member, and buying a home, all within a short time span. Can I confess that I kind of love these sweet and tender events? There was flexibility to tend to the baby’s needs, opt for several outfit changes, and simply enjoy time together. Each kind of soiree has their own unique flare, but just know that yours need not be extravagant in order to be full of joy and beautiful photos!

Bay Area Dohl Celebration

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