By Jamie Rivera Published 01/20/2018 07:10:00 | Views: 208

Koreans are proud people, passionate about nature, particularly mountains. The striking landscape has played a large role in creating a unified Korean identity. Discover more about the Korean culture through traditional wedding customs.

Pre-Wedding Traditions
When a couple decides to marry, their parents hire an astrologer to make sure they are compatible. With the Korean version of the Chinese “eight characters” (year, month, day and hour of birth), the astrologer can determine the couple’s compatibility and a favorable wedding date. At the engagement dinner, the bride wears a hanbok (traditional pink engagement dress).

The bride and groom face each other; she bows four times (her chan, attendants, help since it’s difficult to bow in formal dress); he bows twice. Pyojubak (cups fashioned from two halves of the same gourd) are filled with wine and shared by the couple (called kunbere), signifying the vows have been sealed.

The bride wears either a wonsam (pale green dress in a sleek silhouette) or a hwarrot (robe with floor-length sleeves stitched with butterflies and flowers, symbols of prosperity and joy). She wears a black hat set with jewels (preferably jade) or a wedding crown. Her cheeks and forehead are painted with yonji konji (three red circles) to keep evil spirits away. The groom wears a faruotsu (robe in deep green decorated with gold and sleeves of yellow, red and white), a red silk sash and tall black silk hat. 

Reception Rituals
Décor includes silk screens decorated with peonies for good luck and ducks and geese to represent faithfulness. Guests give gifts of wooden ducks or geese. A harpist plays and family members serenade the newlyweds. Parents trade the couple's astrological information written in calligraphy on special rice paper. Well-wishers toss chestnuts (symbolizing respect) and jujubes (dried red dates symbolizing diligence) at the newlyweds.

Food, Drink & Toasts
A noodle banquet (or kook soo sang) is served, symbolizing a long prosperous life. It includes kook soo (Korean wheat noodles), kimchi (pickled cabbage), kalbee jim (barbecue short ribs), yakshik (sweet rice rolled in raisins and nuts) and dok (sweet rice cake). Guests celebrate with jung jong (Korean sake).

Starting Your Lives Together
The groom’s farewell-to-freedom bash is held after the wedding when the couple visits the bride’s family. The newlyweds also honor the groom’s parents (called p’ye[baek) several days after the wedding by the bride presenting her mother-in-law with dried meat and bowing to her father-in-law, offering him chestnuts and dates (signifying children). The groom’s parents serve the newlyweds sake and sit at a table with chestnuts and flowers (fertility symbols).

Tips and Ideas for Incorporating Traditions Into Your Modern-Day Wedding 
* Gaga for color? Follow Korean tradition by donning a pink dress at your engagement party and a green gown at your ceremony. If you have your heart set on a white wedding dress, then add green through accessories instead.

* Butterflies and flowers symbolize prosperity and joy so why not use them as decorative themes at your reception?

By Jamie Rivera 01/20/2018 07:10:00

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