Yesterday, Annmarie turned 100 days old. I realize that probably doesn’t seem significant or perhaps it even sounds strange to count the number of days she is but it is a big deal for Koreans (and apparently many other Asian countries). While the 100 Day celebration (known as “baek-il”) is typically celebrated at someone’s home where your friends and family gather… that is not how my mom operates. Being that this is her first grandchild, she insisted on renting out a facility and having the affair catered.
Just some quick background on “baek-il”, according to Wikipedia:
Another birthday celebration is Baek-il (100th-day celebration). During this celebration, the family worships Samshin. They make her offerings of rice and soup for having cared for the infant and the mother, and for having helped them live through a difficult period. They give thanks to Samshin and also pray for jae-ak (wealth), longevity, and cho-bok (traditional word for “luck”). After the prayer the family, relatives and friends celebrate with rice cakes, wine, and other delicacies such as red and black bean cakes sweetened with sugar or honey. In order to protect the child, red bean rice cakes are placed at the four compass points of the house. This not only brought protection, but was also believed to bring good fortune and happiness. It is widely believed by the Korean people that if 100 people share the rice cakes the child will live a long life, so the family would also send rice cakes to neighbors and others. Those who receive rice cakes return the dishes with lengths of thread (expressing the hope for longevity), rice and money (symbolizing future wealth
This sounds very serious and I’m sure my mom couldn’t even tell you that this is what the celebration entails. But sharing the rice cake is actually the important piece of the celebration (and my mom was basically shoving it down people’s throats at the party).
I’ve also heard that the 100 day celebration stems from the idea that a child is actually one year old at 100 days post-birth since there is a belief that the child is alive at conception (if that makes sense). I’m wondering if that is what other cultures celebrate? I don’t know.
The whole event was a bit awkward because I think people were expecting something to happen… some sort of ceremony. But there wasn’t any of that. There was a large setup with colorful foods and lots of balloons but it was intended to be a photo op only. The lady that manages the catering facility was a bit pushy and questions if I had brought a cake and a photographer. I didn’t realize I needed either (especially since I know what my mom paid for the place…). The lady’s daughter snapped some photos but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get them. Like I said – the whole setup was awkward. But the food was good.
Lastly, I tried to talk my mom into having the party in the afternoon. Annmarie goes to bed around 7pm, therefore, she starts getting cranky around 6pm (because she’s tired). But my mom didn’t listen to me and Annmarie spent a good portion screaming her head off. Fun times.
My mom hated this outfit. She wanted me to dress her in something brighter and more colorful. And apparently the shoes were hideous and too big. Thanks, mom. :-)
Happy 100 Days, Annie!