Still figuring out what kind of career you’d like? In Korea, people get a head start on the process, as part of their first birthday involves a special ceremony called 돌잡이,doljabi. At a doljabi, 6 to 8 objects that represent careers are placed around the baby. The baby is encouraged to touch them, and the first one he or she touches or holds is meant to be a sign of their future career. Guests at the birthday party can usually win prizes if they guess which item the baby will pick first.

Typical objects at the doljabi include a gavel (for a law career), a stethoscope (for a career in medicine), money (for a finance-related career), a book (for a good student or a career in education), a test tube (for careers in science) and a football (for a sports career). More recent doljabi trends include a microphone, representing a career in the performing arts, and a toy rocket representing careers in space travel. Some other objects have been traditionally included not for career choices, but for general fortunes in life, such as thread (representing a long life) and a spoon or food (representing a life without hunger). Sometimes real objects are used, and sometimes people buy or make special doljabi sets like this one.

See a very cute doljabi in action on The Return of Superman here

Korean babies aren’t the only ones to have this fortune-telling ritual, as China and Armenia hold similar celebrations with their kids.

Donna Sheffield

Donna Sheffield

Writer at UnitedKpop
British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.
Donna Sheffield

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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.

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