Traditional Korean Wedding




    If you are attending a wedding in Seoul in the near future, you should probably expect a very "modern" ceremony. The traditional Korean wedding ceremony is performed less frequently in today's society and it may be that the only place you can witness such an event is a folk museum. However, the traditional ceremony is worth an examination because very few rituals disappear completely from a society. They are modified and perhaps disguised, but beneath even the most contemporary of Korean weddings, traditional elements are still found.
    Traditionally, since a wedding was as much about the joining of two families as it was about joining a couple, the services of a professional matchmaker may have been employed. This practice is dying out in favor of the "love match," but I know at least one woman who met her husband this way. During the Choson dynasty (1392-1910), the match would take place when a boy was quite young (the girl was typically a few years older than the bridegroom). After the match was made, an auspicious date would be chosen for the wedding.

    Once the match has been made, it is time for the bridegroom to demonstrate that he and his family are worthy of the bride's family in the form of wedding gifts and a marriage letter (proposal). The bridegroom sends ha-am, a special box in which valuables such as gold, jewelry (an engagement ring, for instance) and wedding silks are held, to the bride's home. This box is to arrive by the evening before the wedding, and is usually delivered in a boisterous fashion by friends of the bridegroom. As the friends approach the bride's family home, they begin to shout, "Buy the ha-am! Buy the ha-am!" If everything is acceptable, the father of the bride accepts the box and pays the bridegroom for it. Of course, this is often a playful ritual today, but in the past, haggling over a wedding price could be very serious business.

    Although now weddings will take place in a church or other more public location, traditionally, the wedding took place in the bride's home. Before the ceremony, the groom travels to the bride's house amongst a parade-like atmosphere (ch'inyoung). He brings with him the "wild goose father" who offers a goose (a wooden one today, although it used to be a live one) to the bride's mother (jeonanrye). The goose symbolizes an eternal bond, for geese mate for life.




    Source : http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/korean_culture/34311Source URL: http://iowabride.blogspot.com/2009/02/traditional-korean-wedding.html
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