East Asian Age Reckoning - Korea
This system can be pretty confusing, so I always stick with just my Western age. What woman really wants to be a year or two older? Hahaha...
Koreans generally refer to their age in units called sal (살), using Korean numerals in ordinal form. Thus, a person is one sal during the first calendar year of life, and ten sal during the tenth calendar year.
The 100th-day anniversary of a baby is called baegil (백일), which literally means "a hundred days" in Korean, and is given a special celebration, marking the survival of what was once a period of high infant mortality. The first anniversary of birth named dol (돌) is likewise celebrated, and given even greater significance. Koreans celebrate their birthdays, even though every Korean gains one 'sal' on New Year's Day. Because the first year comes at birth and the second on the first day of the lunar New Year, a child born, for example, on December 29 (of the lunar calendar) will reach two years of age on Seolnal (Korean New Year) , when they are only days old in western reckoning.
In modern Korea the traditional system is most often used, mistakenly even when talking to non-Koreans. The international age system is referred to as "man-nai" (만나이) in which "man" (만) means "full" or "actual", and "nai" meaning "age". For example, man yeol sal means "full ten years", or "ten years old" in English. The Korean word dol means "years elapsed", identical to the English "years old", but is only used to refer to the first few birthdays. Cheotdol or simply dol refers to the first Western-equivalent birthday, dudol refers to the second, and so on.
For official government uses, documents, and legal procedures, the Western age system is used. Regulations regarding age limits on alcohol and tobacco use, as well as the age of consent, are all based on the Western system (man-nai).
We're coming up on the baegil (백일) for Graham and I plan on doing it traditional style this time, especially since Grandma will be visiting us for the first time ever!
Here are some pictures from the 3rd/4th birthday! Enjoy!
The lovely photos were courtesy of our friend Shane Lee of the blog Family Lee Together!