Treats are piled high when it comes to traditional Korean celebrations, and these towers of treats are called GOIM (고임)– the literal meaning being, “high mounds on plates”.
The height of the food symbolizes long life, past and future good fortunes and experiences, and of course it just looks cooler. It’s also very important that the treats are of either rare ingredients or simple but hand-made with extreme manual attention. They vary from dried fruits, sweet jellies, and cookies– all decadent and chosen with care. In archaic records it’s shown the heights of the goim varied with the position of the person being celebrated.
Goim for elder parties stand for their various accomplishments in life, and it’s also stated that the higher the goim, the greater the love of the children towards their elderly parents.
Baby goim are an homage to their bright and plentiful future, high as their hopes and dreams. In both cases, either young or old, they stand for the sign of luxury, decadence, opulence, and also happy festivities– and were used for all special celebrations in the different stages life– by using rare or extremely beneficial ingredients like jujubes, and even simple items chosen and cut and towered with care, like apples and pears, and individually hand-made Korean candies and treats. The point is to have ‘plenty’- so that they may be shared with all the guests and the entire neighborhood (or even the village).
Goims have evolved a lot over the years, as Korean mothers grow more modern and stylish, and as our culture evolves with Western influences while we still strive to adhere to our own. Modern moms are making their own DIY towers with beans, candy, and treats, with glue-gun on foam– we have seen chocolate candies, cookies, and even macarons!