Marriage is very important. It’s all about joining two families together under the name of love and respect. In the past, weddings in Korea were sacred and very important events. A traditional Korean wedding starts when a groom sends a proposal letter to the bride’s family so the two families can sit down and discuss if it’s possible to join the two individuals together after making sure both of them are matched in terms of social status and personality. This act is called the eui hon, the “marriage discussion.”
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If it all went well and the bride and her family agreed, the bride would send a wrapped piece of paper back, with the date of the wedding ceremony written on it. Then the bridegroom also sends a hamm which is a box containing three things. Among them is the hanseo, which is a letter from the bridegroom’s parents. The box also contains the red and blue cloths, the chaedan, and small bags containing five different grains. Different gifts for the bride’s family can be added too.
In the past, the ceremony was held at the bride’s house when the groom and his family arrived on horses carrying ceremonial gifts, like wooden geese and ducks that represent a long happy marriage. Both the bride and the groom should wear wedding attire that’s the closest thing possible to traditional Korean Hanbok attire, but with some additions, like long ribbons and the head pieces that the bride wears.
Some women help the bride to walk around, take a drink and bow, because of her covered hands. Then the couple passes a jujube between each other using their mouths, which is similar to the West’s “You may now kiss the bride.” After the ceremony, the bride and groom bow to their parents and parents-in-law as an act of respect and to gain their blessings. Then the groom can take his bride carried back to his parent’s home in a gama or a palanquin to start their new life.