Korean Cultural Centre India is going to introduce a special ‘Korean Traditional Wedding ceremony at the two day Korean cultural fest ‘ Rang De Korea’ on (Sat, Sun) 15th – 16th Oct at DLF Avenue Saket, New Delhi.

Wedding is always a joyous occasion, filled with happiness, and hope. Korea and India both having the same values put a lot of meaning and importance to this gracious occasion, its customs, ceremonies, traditions, and celebration. This special event will be a mirror of Korean culture, reflecting traditional music, dances, and etiquettes.

Though modernized over time,Korean traditional wedding customs still survives in Korea. Here are some of the customs and traditions of a Korean traditional wedding ceremony.

Historically, a traditional Korean wedding is divided into three parts—uihon(의혼), daerye(대례), and hurye(후례).

1. Uihon(의혼)

Uihon(의혼)refers to the act of matchmaking, wherein the prospect bride and groom’s families discuss the possibility of marriage.

Uihonhas four steps, namely— Hondam(혼담),sending marriage proposal (honseoji 혼서지) and acceptance of marriage; Napchae(납채),sending of Sajudanja(사주단자), a letter containing groom’s date and time of birth;Nahpgil(납길), finalizing the date of weddingby the bride’s side; andNappae(납폐),sending of wedding gift box called ham(함) by the groom’s side to the bride.

The ham(함) typically contained marriage papers, set of red and blue silk cloth to make the bride’s skirt, and a yellow pouch containing cotton, soybeans, and kidney beans, along with a variety of other gifts such as jewellery, clothes, etc.

2. Daerye(대례)
Daerye(대례)refers to the main wedding ceremony which traditionally started with Chinyoung(친영), the groom’s wedding procession accompanied by traditional Korean music, going to the bride’s place for the wedding.

Chinyoung (친영) is followed by Jeonanrye(전안례), where the groom presents wooden wild goose to his mother-in-law. This Korean tradition is respected as a symbol of harmony and fidelity.

As most of the marriages in ancient Korea were arranged marriages, Gyobaerye(교배례)ceremony followedJeonanrye(전안례),where the bride and groom would see each other for the first time and bow to each other representing the promise of commitment to each other.

After the bowing ceremony, the Bride and Groom share a glass of liquor, historically,two separate halves of a gourd filled with liquor and connected by a thread, as a means of them becoming one by the exchange of the drink in a ceremony called Hapgeunrye(합근례).

Hurye(후례), means ‘post ceremony’. As the name suggests, this ceremony takes place after the main wedding ceremony.

Hurye(후례) historically commenced with the bride parading to the groom’s house in a tiger pelt-covered palanquin in a processional called the woogwi (우귀).

This was followed by Pyebaek(폐백)ceremony, an intimate Korean unification tradition and one of the most important moments of a traditional Korean wedding.Pyebaek(폐백) features Korean historical traditions like formal bowing, a tea ceremony, and the couple catching chestnuts and dates.

The bride and groom do a grand bow, a half bow, and then sit down. Holding a white fabric with flower embroidery, they catch dates and chestnuts that the parents of the bride and groom throw. The number of dates and chestnuts the happy couple catch in the cloth represents the number of children they will have.

Additionally, in a fun ceremony the groom often gives a piggyback ride to his mother and then his bride, symbolizing his acceptance of his obligations to both his mother and wife.

As part of Hurye(후례), three days after the woogwi(우귀) processional, the couple visits the groom’s family shrine to pay respects, in a ceremony called hyeonsadangrye(현사당례).

For the traditional wedding ceremony, the Bride and Groom wear hanbok, historically made of silk and in colours symbolic of the “taeguk(태국),” or “eum-yang(음양)” (also known as yin and yang) to represent the balance of complementary entities.For a more formal look, the bridewears a wonsam(원삼), an intricate upper garment embroidered with designs in silk thread, along with a full skirt called a chima(치마), while the Groom wears a samogwandae(사모관대), the court attire of the Chosun Dynasty. Alternatively, a less formal yet traditional attire includes the chima(치마)and a jeogori(저고리), a long-sleeved upper garment that is generally shorter compared to the wonsam(원삼) for the bride, and pants called baji(바지) and a jacket called jeogori(저고리)for the groom. With modern times, the wedding hanboks have also modernized and diversified in terms of colour and design.


Hwang Il Yong, Director of Korean Cultural Centre India

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