Korean Traditional Wedding

by - June 17, 2017

I was lucky enough to attend a Korean wedding within a week of my visit to Seoul and discovered it was a traditional one. That is a rare thing as most people choose to have a western style wedding. The ceremony itself takes about a half an hour, but there are celebratory performances before the event and dining after the ceremony. 
Our ceremony at Korea House took about three hours including the ceremony and food. The Korea House was in Chungmuro and itself is beautiful as you will see from the picture below.

Before the main ceremony, there is a traditional dance with a number of instruments. The dance is called Samulnori, which means a dance of four objects. This is because they use four instruments in the dance that are supposed to signify thunder, wind, rain and the clouds.

After the dance, the main ceremony begins. In the main ceremony, the groom enters the courtyard with a person leading the way with the wedding geese. This person is called the girukabi. The wedding geese is fake by the ways and symbolizes harmony and love between husband and wife. We saw a wooden geese but before, live ones are also used. 

The girukabi hands the geese to groom. The groom places the geese on the table and bows twice to his mother-in-law. The mother-in-law takes the geese into the house where the future bride is currently. She brings the bride out.

The groom stands on the east, and bride walks to the west side of the wedding table.The helpers (two each for bride and groom) wash the hands of bride and groom. The helpers spread the mat on the yard for each other. The groom bows, then the bride and groom stand on the mat, facing each other (bride holds her hands to cover her face). First, the bride bows twice and groom bows back once. Then, the bride bows twice again, then groom makes a deep bow and kneels down. The bowing represents the promise of commitment to each other.The helpers are quite important as the bride’s bow is required to sit cross-legged on the floor and stand up.

Finally, the helpers of bride and groom prepare drink (usually rice wine) and side dishes. The groom bows, then bride and groom present the drink and side dishes to the sky (to the greater existence who’s looking down on everyone). The helpers pour the drink. After groom bows, bride and groom raise their cup. The helpers fill the cup which made of gourd dipper and groom bows. Bride and groom exchange gourd dipper. After this ceremony, there are lots of pictures being taken so we took one with our friend and the bride too!

Finally, we eat! There is a lot that they serve, from fish, beef (bulgogi),bibimbap, rice and soup. Also, a special thing served are banquet noodles or guksu.Because the noodles are traditionally eaten at weddings, the expression "When are you going to feed us guksu?" is a way of asking "When are you going to get married?"

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