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At one year old, South Korean babies get lavish parties

Published on Jan 9, 2014 1:24 PM

SEOUL (Reuters) - It takes a lot more than a cake and a song to celebrate a baby's first birthday in South Korea, where in the past disease and starvation claimed so many lives that the completion of an infant's first year was a major milestone.

The first birthday, or doljanchi, is now an event where affluent parents in one of the world's richest countries flaunt their wealth, connections and even their offspring's gilded career prospects at lavish parties.

At one party in Apgujeong, dubbed the Beverly Hills of Seoul, one-year-old Dot Byul peered down at a tray of items symbolising various professions - including a stethoscope for a doctor, a judge's gavel and a microphone.

Dressed in a white princess gown with every moment captured by a professional photographer, she paused for a gurgle and then wrapped her tiny hands around a golf ball, in a gesture seen as signifying that she will grow up to be a golfer.

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