A Dol, A Taco, A Future

By Amy S. Choi

How the Mash-Up Mascot does tradition.

Amy’s son Alejandro Jaesun, the Korean-Colombian-Mexican-American mascot of The Mash-Up Americans, i.e., the Future of America, recently turned 1 year old. As per Korean tradition, we threw a dol, a big old party in which a Korean kid chooses his destiny. No big deal.

He Has No Idea What’s Happening

Photo credit: Brent Murray

So, how does it work? In the doljabi ceremony, items representative of different futures are laid out in front of the guest of honor. Traditional items include a string for long life, a pen for a life of letters, money for prosperity, and paintbrush for artist. We also threw in a musical instrument and soccer ball, because duh. A surgeon friend snuck in some sort of medical instrument. Whatever item he picks first indicates his destiny. Like we said, no bigs.

Ready, Set …  
Photo credit: Brent Murray

Photo credit: Brent Murray

Amy Dying With Anticipation
Photo credit: Brent Murray

Photo credit: Brent Murray

Much to his parents’ joy, and his immigrant grandparents’ chagrin, Alejandro purposefully and decisively chose the paintbrush.

He’s Going to Be an Artist, Guys

Photo credit: Brent Murray

 

Now, there are all kinds of traditional sweets and dduk, or rice cakes, to be eaten at a dol. We shared those, as every guest who takes sweets home with them shares in the warm wishes expressed for the birthday boy. [Editor’s note: We love this tradition.] But most important to our Mash-Up family is feasting on food that is representative of us, our families, our cultures and our love for each other and our kid. So to celebrate our baby, the artist, we ate kimchi tacos.

Finally, Food
Photo credit: Brent Murray

Photo credit: Brent Murray

We can’t wait to see what happens next.

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