Party favors and goodie bags were given to friends and neighbors since old Korea, just not labeled as such. They were a part of any festivity, and consisted of food– mainly dduk. (www.ddukpedia.com)
DDuk favors were given to friends and neighbors not only to share in the festivities, but also to gather and receive back good wishes and tidings for the subject(s) of the celebration. Soliciting the village’s positive wishes with food and in the process creating a group prayer to add to the celebration– that was, and is, how we Koreans celebrated since the dawn of our creation.
The first and earliest form of this tradition occurs on a person’s 100th Day of life. On this day it is customary to give out 100 white sulgi to 100 people, as the baby has survived the first most precarious days of their life.
Dol is the next (and now the more major) day of gathering blessings by giving out party favors, involving taller goim and the activity of doljabi. Favors on this day are presented to all guests for the event, and many parents prepare favors for office co-workers that they may have not been able to accommodate for the party.
Modern mothers now take creative liberty and give out other items as party favors for dol and other baby / birthday/ baby shower events, like towels, chocolates, and other souvenirs or food items. They also take special care in the packaging and the presentation, as they believe it’ll directly affect the blessings received in return.
This collecting of good tidings and blessings is also reflected in the tradition of handing out red-bean rice cakes when ones moves-in to a new building or opens a new business.