One Year old – a first birthday is a special milestone. Not just for the baby but for parents too. Actually, especially for parents, because, hey, they made it through it! Twelve beautiful and awesome but equally tiring and exhausting months!
Every culture has their own traditions and way of celebrating this event. The birthday party I was asked to photograph and document was Leah’s first birthday. And since Leah’s mum is Korean it was celebrated in traditional Korean style – a dol.
A dol is a Korean tradition that celebrates the first birthday of a baby. This ceremony blesses the child with a prosperous future. The baby is dressed in the traditional Korean clothing, called dol-bok. (and Leah was not very fond of the head The highlight is the doljabi, where the baby is presented with a variety of items such as a paintbrush, money or a book. Depending on which item the child picks up, it is believed it will foretell the child’s future. (think artist, banker or writer 🙂 )
Since I don’t have any close Korean friends and have never been there either, I didn’t know any of that when I was asked to photograph Leah’s first birthday ceremony. When I researched it to prepare for the shoot I once again felt blessed to have a job that not only introduces me to interesting people but gives me an insight into worlds I wouldn’t have otherwise. And Leah’s insane cuteness (just look at that cheeky smile!!) definitely made up for the photographer’s nightmare that the location was (a dark windowless room with many different coloured light sources).
I really enjoyed photographing the event and especially watching so many different cultures and nationalities mingle and chat. This is something quite special to Hong Kong and I really appreciate living in the middle of this great diversity. Lucky Leah to have such a great tribe already!
Happy first Birthday little Leah!