Sejun’s First Birthday in Korea

Sejun’s first birthday party, or dol jan chi (돌잔치), was such a great celebration!  There were so many reasons Sejun’s celebration was special, and Robyn and I are so grateful for all of the well wishes as Sejun begins his second year.  

First, we were very lucky to be surrounded by amazing well-wishers, including Korean friends and counterparts from various ministries, other Ambassadors and friends, and even the winners of a social media contest from our various online platforms. 

Sejun: “This is so much fun!”

Second, Professor Yoon Sook-ja, a well-known Korean traditional cooking researcher, graciously and expertly prepared the dol table according to Korean custom, ensuring that everything was perfect.  She even took time to explain the signs and meaning of the items on the table.  Another Korean friend, Chairman Lee Woong-Yeul of the KOLON Group, provided a western counterpoint by giving us a “Captain Sejun” birthday cake. 

Thank you Professor Yoon for the wonderful dol table!

Third, what traditional Korean 1st birthday celebration would be complete without Grigsby in a hanbok?  Grigsby was given a hanbok by the SBS “Good Morning Korea” team late last year, and somehow we managed to get him into it – we think he looked very handsome! Thank you SBS!!

Grigsby in a hanbok!

We also held a competition for our online friends and, from over 130 entries, we chose five winners to attend the birthday party.  (Thank you so much for all the wonderful entries!)  The selections were based on answers to the question of which item Sejun would choose as a doljabi among a brush (pen/pencil), thread, gavel, passport, ball, U.S. Navy cover (the navy term for a hat), etc.  The item that received the most guesses was the brush (pen/pencil), and – in fact – Sejun chose the brush!  So I guess we have a future scholar on our hands.  Maybe he will follow me to Stanford one day.

Items for Sejun’s doljabi

Sejun chose the brush!

Great to meet my online friends offline!

Sejun loved his party and didn’t cry at all.  Overall he is a very happy boy.  He dances a little, and Robyn is certain that his first word was “Dada” (or Daddy).  He also loves the Korean version of the song “The Three Bears” (which often gets stuck in my head for the whole day) and “Pororo!” 

Grateful to have you in our life, Sejun!

If you would like to see more about Sejun, from his birth to now, please check out this video that was prepared for his birthday party. 

Thank you to everyone for the warm wishes for Sejun.  We really enjoyed celebrating his birthday in the cultural traditions of Korea. We are very lucky to be living in a country that cherishes children the way Korea does. 


  1. 대사님
    애기 첫돌 축하 드려요~
    너무너무 예쁘고 귀여워요^^
    항상 행복하시고,즐거운 가족 되세요!

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