My son recently turned 100 days old. This would have meant nothing to me normally, if not for the fact that my husband is Korean American. It is a huge milestone in Korean culture for children to reach the 100 day mark. Hence, the need for celebration in the form of the Korean 100 Day Party.
Many years ago in Korea (and really everywhere else), babies very seldom survived for 100 days. Usually if they did, it meant they would live to adulthood. I’m going to also add my own spin on the reason for celebration: the end of the newborn phase! I know it’s been a huge change for our little one who is now smiling, laughing and overall happy go lucky. This in stark contrast to the sleep deprived crankiness of the prior months. So there is ample reason to celebrate the 100 day mark and you don’t even need to be Korean!
When I was initially planning my son’s party, I felt very unsure of my ability to do it correctly. However, I found the entire process to be fairly straightforward. With the help (and sometimes hindrance) of my mother and aunt-in-law, I was able to create a pretty authentic Korean 100 Day Party. So don’t be intimidated by the crazy pictures online of elaborate cakes and decorations. You can absolutely simplify this party and still get the general look and feel that Koreans strive for. All this without spending a ton of money or driving yourself crazy in the process.
When searching for images online of Korean 100 Day Parties, you’ll find there is always a decorative table with the baby seated in the center. This is really the main event of the Korean 100 Day Party: the photo op. The table is the only decor you need to spend time on and is actually super easy.
- First select a table that will serve as the main hub of the party. Typically this would be your dining room table, but use whatever table you like.
- Next buy your decorations. I purchased everything from Dollar Tree for only $7, so again there is no need to overspend! I selected a dark blue plastic table cloth, party confetti to spread over the table for some sparkle, dark blue, light blue and yellow paper pom poms, and shiny blue bulletin board lettering I found in the school supply aisle. You can also purchase paper plates, cups and plastic ware for easy clean up.
- Now you’ll need to purchase fruit to decorate the table. This is apparently a must for decorating the table according to my mother-in-law. We purchased oranges, apples and pineapples, but you can use any fruit you like. Arrange the round fruit into pyramids on a plate with the help of toothpicks to stabilize. If you get oranges, you can get fancy and cut them Japanese style like this YouTube video shows.
- Another must are Korean rice cakes called tteok. You can purchase these at any Korean bakery or grocery store and use them to decorate the table. My mother-in-law special ordered a cake from the Northern Virginia area specifically for the 100 day party, but any tteok will work.
- Next make a sign saying Happy 100 Days insert child’s name! I used a cork board we already had on hand and pinned the bulletin board letters from Dollar Tree to it.
- You can also purchase several bouquets of flowers from your local grocery for decoration as well, but this is optional.
- Last but not least, determine what kind of food and drink you’ll serve at the party and either make or buy a cake. We served Bonchon chicken (a Korean fried chicken chain in our area) with japchae (Korean sweet potato noodle dish) and kimbap (Korean sushi, see my post on how to make it). I made our cake and you can see how I did it in this post.
At the party you will eat, drink and be merry, ending with the mandatory photo op in front of the table. We just sat our baby on a normal chair and held him there, but you can use any infant seat you have. Typically you’ll do several photos of the baby by him or herself and then some with the parents.
That’s it! You’re done! You’ve successfully hosted a Korean 100 Day Party like a pro. Please comment and post photos of your 100 Day parties below. I’d love to hear how they turned out!