The dol sang is the main table seen at a Korean first birthday. Traditionally a child was placed upon the table for the doljabi ceremony. However today in modern dol parties, the child is usually placed on the floor for the doljabi, and the dolsang is a decorative focal point.
The dolsang usually consists of 2 tables, one stacked on top of the other. Circular round tables are placed on the dol sang, as they represent a life without hardship, and a hope that the child will grow to be a generous person. Families hoped to bless the baby with luck and fortune by carefully selecting good luck items on the dol sang. Several of these items include:
A red tablecloth was traditionally used because it was believed that the red color would keep away bad luck.
Jujube – abundance in giving birth
Parsley – healthy long lasting life
5 colored pouches – means a vibrant life, also represent East, West, South and North, it represents natures harmony
Dduk (korean rice cakes) represents purity and a long lasting life. The rice cakes should be colorful since the colors will represent a bright future. Rainbow rice cakes represent a dream come true. Rice cakes coated with meshed red beans represent a prayer for mercy and ward off bad luck. White rice cakes represent purity and honesty, yellow rice cakes represent a long life.
White rice signifies fortune of money and food
Drop wort tightened with blue and red thread represents wish for good health and vitality.
Sang Hwa – artificial flowers made from rice were used as using real flowers was thought to be bad luck
Fresh seasonal fruit and dried fruit (dates) represent future children and happy life for the entire family. Food was stacked high to symbolize a life of prosperity.
Red bean cake is a symbol of good health and safety
While many of these items can be seen on a modern day dol, many families have become a little more creative. The color of the tablecloth often reflects the color scheme or theme of the birthday party. Dduk and rice cakes are still often see on a dolsang, but other popular items include dol towers, the birthday cake, desserts, decorations including the child’s name and much more.