Doljabi Celebration in Rockville, Maryland: Baby Teddy

I recently had the opportunity to photograph one of the most culturally significant (and most adorable) events ever – the Doljabi ceremony. This is my second time photographing this special event for this family in Rockville, Maryland.

This traditional Korean first birthday celebration has the birthday kiddo, dressed up in a resplendent Hanbok, choosing an object that signifies their future. 

The Doljabi was held in their home, with decorations that created a whimsical fusion of Korean tradition and an orange/cutie theme.

The star of the show was our tiny protagonist, curiously eyeing a colorful array of objects – a stethoscope, a pencil, rice, money, string, and a gavel – each symbolizing a different career. Excited guests anxiously waited to see what Teddy would reach for. Teddy picked a pencil, so the family has their second scholar!

The colors at a Doljabi are vibrant and rich. The Hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, steals the show with its elaborate patterns and colors – sapphire blues, ruby reds, and jade greens, accented with gold embroidery. And a Doljabi isn’t complete without a feast! The family had thought of everything from sushi to orange-themed cake pops. 

It’s experiences like these that remind me of the joy and beauty in our diverse community. This is such a special way to celebrate the first year of a child’s life. Family and friends come together, share and celebrate traditions, create memories, and I have the privilege of capturing it all through my lens. I am truly the luckiest.

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