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Each country eat different foods on their birthdays. Like the name ‘Jang-su-myeon’ means to live f a long life, Chinese people eat noodles on their birthday and western people eat cakes.

Then why do Koreans eat seaweed soup on their birthday?

History of ‘Seaweed soup’

When did the Koreans start to eat the seaweed soup? The history of seaweed can be found in various literature. Ben Cao Gang Mu, written by Yi Si-jin during the Ming Dynasty, records that seaweed, which was imported from Korea, was called as ‘Silla seaweed’ or ‘Goryo seaweed’ and was used as a medicine.

According to <Go-ryeo-do-kyoun>, Koreans ate a lot of seaweed and kelp(gonpo). As such, our ancestors enjoyed seaweed as a meal even before the Goryeo Dynasty.

Efficacy of ‘Seaweed soup’

Seaweed soup is especially good for growing children, mothers, and lactating women because it is rich in calcium and iodine. Since ancient times, seaweed soup has been considered as an essential daily food for mothers in Korea.

Even today, mothers eat seaweed soup for 21 days after childbirth.

The seaweed does a great help on contractions and haemostasis in the uterus after birth. Also, it is a very effective food to prevent constipation and obesity that are likely to come after childbirth and to supplement calcium lost to babies during pregnancy. As such facts have been scientifically proven, the status of seaweed has increased to the extent that American hospitals are producing seaweed soup for postnatal health of mothers.

Custom of eating ‘Seaweed soup’ on birthday.

Consuming seaweed soup on birthdays and after childbirth started from a long time ago. At the beginning of the 8th century, in the book written by ‘seo gyeon’. It states that in the time of Goryeo, mothers after their childbirth were fed with seaweed after seeing a mother whale being healed by eating the seaweed after giving birth to its baby. Furthermore, in the ‘Joseon yeo sok go’, it also states that before the mothers took their first meal after giving birth, they cleaned off the southwest of their maternity room and prepared three bowls of rice and seaweed soup and served ‘sam-shin’ meal for the gods, but the mother ate all of it.


The customs of Koreans eating seaweed soup on their birthday is to thank their mothers every year by eating the same food their mothers ate after childbirth.