Friday, August 15, 2014

1st Birthday in Okinawa Japan

Little Sammy Goes Through the Ritual



This custom, in Okinawa, is something unique to the Ryukyu Island Chain.

It is a tradition, passed down through generations, more than likely, by word of mouth.

Researching the custom, to find the origins, has left me with very little documentation.



There are other places, in Japan, where this ritual is practiced.

It is known as "Erabitori" -- Pick up and keep an item.

 Read more at Blackcabbit's World

The best, I can do, is show you what takes place, with the digital cameras.

All of Sammy's Relatives from Near and Far Gather at the House



birthday party,GIF,ritual,Okinawa, 1 year


Fortunately, most of the guests allowed me some room for the tripod.

There were anywhere from 30-50 visitors who attended the celebration.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces, were just part of the crowd.

child,girl,peace sign,parent,GIF

It was a good idea, to play around with the cameras ahead of time.

Some children are camera shy, especially when a foreigner points a camera their way.

The Big Event



Several items are placed on a tray and everyone watches to see which the one year old selects.

The order in which the child picks up each item has some significance.

It helps the family determine their child's future.

mother,child,1st birthday,tray,money,food,GIF,paintbrush

The mother, watches anxiously.

She will, probably record the day's events in some sort of diary.

Will her son be a scholar, artist, manual laborer, butcher, baker or, candlestick maker ?

Does the child place more significance on the food, money, soroban, pen or, paintbrush ?

As each item is selected, by the child, it is set aside.

The one year old will keep picking items up, until the tray is empty.

The objects placed on the tray may vary, depending where in Okinawa you happen to visit.

And, the interpretation of the order in which each item is selected, is up to the mother.

Mother's always, know best.

Don't they ? 

More About Celebrating a 1st Birthday in Okinawa


Missing in Action said...

It's actually a pretty common practice in East Asia that originated in 3rd Century China. The custom is called "抓周" in Chinese (選び取り in Japanese and 돌잡이 in Korean).

RyukyuMike said...

Missing in Action, Thanks for that information. I had suspected, it may have originated in China. Now, you've given me some confirmation and, I will research further into the tradition.