"gohui" (고희) or 70th birthday

I posted about “dol” or first birthday in the past. Although my son is Korean and my husband’s family is traditional, we didn’t celebrate his first birthday last year the traditional way. Instead of having just one big party, he had three small ones. About a month before his actual birthday, we celebrated with my family and friends in the Philippines. The weekend before the date of his birth, we had a “han-woo” (Korean beef) dinner with my husband’s family and friends. And on the exact date of his natal day, my pinay friends in Seoul and their kids celebrated with us.
Last year, my father-in-law celebrated his 70th birthday or “go-hui”. The 60th birthday is called “hwan-gap” or 환갑. The “hwan-gap” is celebrated more lavishly, like you see in Korean dramas. For my FIL’s “go-hui”, the whole family with some relatives and close friends just had a dinner at a pricey restaurant. We had a multi-course Korean dinner (“han-jeong-shik”) at Jahamun in Jongro-gu.
We wore the hanbok at this important occasion. I didn’t really enjoy the dinner because of my son who was having a really bad mood that day, but the food was greattttt! (I didn’t enjoy the dinner because I wasn’t able to eat everything that was served.) The restaurant had the best chapchae (Korean chopsuey?) I ever had.
In a “go-hui” (or even a “hwan-gap”) ceremony, the parents sit at the main banquet table with all the ceremonial rice cake and fruits (most of which are fake) in front of them. The sons and daughter(s) and their spouses take their turns to bow and offer wine to the parents. This is done according to age. The grandchildren then take their turn in paying respects, followed by the other relatives and friends.
After the ceremony is done, we had our pictures taken. Since I was part of the ceremony (and I was taking care of my son), I wasn’t able to hold the camera. With the pictorial done, we then sat at the banquet table and were served the multi-course meal. It could have been a really good meal (at 150K won per head it should be!), but like I’d said I wasn’t able to eat or taste every meal that was served. Sayang!

  1. Wow, what a beautiful family. I did not know they still bow down to elders in Korea.
    Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy everything as much as you wanted to, but it sounds like you were still very pleased with the food.

  2. It looks like a very nice & grand celebration! Your in-laws sure look like a very kind and nice people. May I ask if in the second group photo you’re on the left side of frame? It’s hard to distinguish who’s Filipinos in that photo at all. The food setting is just beautiful! I love Korean food esp jopchae, kimchi, kalbi, bulgogi & bibimbap so I think I was a Korean in previous life (smile). Thnx for sharing your photos. By the way, I will be going to attend a Korean first birthday party in Nov. can you pls tell me what is usually considered a traditional gift for a Korean boy who’s turning one year old? I’d appreciate it very much if you can pls share something with me. His mother incidentally is also married to a nice Korean guy, I met her mom in law first from the catholic church or parish that i go to. I actually haven’t met this Filipina but maybe in Nov. I’ll get a chance finally. Thank you and Kamsahabnida/Salamat in advance!!

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