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Korean Wedding 

 

Koreans value their traditions and they keep passing them from one generation to the next. A modern Korean wedding ceremony isn’t much different from the one that was held several decades ago. Koreans have very interesting wedding traditions full of fun-filled ceremonies. Some of the ceremonies that lead up to the final wedding banquet include:

Family’s Meeting

When a man and a woman have agreed to get married, the groom must meet the bride's family. Likewise, the bride must meet the groom's family. Before the engagement is made official, both families must also meet.

Betrothal

After the engagement is announced and made official, the groom is expected to send gifts to the family of the bride. The groom will select his closest friends to take the gifts to the bride’s family. There are three categories of items that comprise Korean wedding gifts for parents and the bride: valuable items ("honsu"), blue and red fabrics ("ch'aedan") and the marriage paper ("honseo"). These items are placed in a hahn (box).

The groom’s team has their faces blacked and they arrive singing traditional songs and dressed in traditional costumes. They stop singing when they are close to the house and start shouting "Hahm for sale" repeatedly. Upon hearing this, the bride’s family rushes out and gives the groom’s team some money. What follows is very interesting negotiations full of fun and teasing. The groom’s team gets bribed until they deliver the box.

Korean Engagement Parties

What follows betrothal are engagement parties which are usually conducted in restaurants. In these parties, families exchange gifts worth as high as $400,000. Formal introductions take place and the bride wears the traditional engagement dress called hanbok. This is also the ceremony in which the Korean celebrity engagement rings are exchanged between the bride and the groom.

There are lots of entertainment in the engagement parties with Korean music played and attendees singing along and enjoying Korean wedding dance.

Korean Wedding Goose Presentation

After the engagement party, there's a small ceremony in which the groom presents the mother of the bride with a live wild goose. In a modern Korean wedding, a wooden goose is acceptable because it has become difficult to get live geese. The goose acts as a promise by the groom to take care or the bride for life. Geese mate for a lifetime so is the relationship between the bride and the groom expected to last.

Bride’s Mother Presents Wine in a Guard

In Korea, the wedding ceremony takes place in the home of the family of the bride. The bride and the groom exchange Korean wedding vows in a kunbere (ceremony) and the bride bows to the groom. The groom also bows to the bride. The bride’s mother then presents the coupe with a gourd of special wine which they sip to seal their vow.

Chestnuts and Dates  

After the wedding ceremony at the bride’s family, a few days go by then another ceremony called p'ye-baek is held at the groom’s family. The bride presents the groom’s parents with chestnuts and dates (representing children). While doing this, the bride sits at a table full of other offerings.

The groom’s parents throw the chestnuts and the dates for the bride to catch and they offer her an alcoholic beverage called sake. The bride uses her wedding dress to try to catch the dates and chestnuts.

Even if the wedding ceremony takes place in the U.S., incorporating Korean wedding traditions is a must. The ceremony is usually conducted at the reception but the groom and the bride must wear Korean costumes. Only the family members are allowed to attend the p'ye-baek. Throwing of chestnuts and dates mark the peak of this ceremony.

The bride is also offered monetary gifts enclosed in a white Korean money envelope. The Koreans must maintain their traditions, no matter the country they hold the wedding ceremony.

Wedding Gifts That Korean Couples Receive

Korean couples usually receive gifts from the guests as well as from the families of the groom and the bride.

Gifts From Guests

Guests are supposed to give their gifts in the form of money. They should put the money in envelopes before presenting to the couple. Korean doesn’t have wedding registries, so presenting the money is a mere formality and is not considered a flashy gift.

Gifts Offered by the Couple’s Families

The groom’s family is supposed to present some gift to the couple just the same way the bride’s family is expected to dot the same. The gifts are just simple items such as hanbok, suits, handbags, jewelry, or luxury watches.

The Wedding Banquet

In Korea, wedding banquets aren’t complicated. The only dish served is noodle soup. That why this banquet is referred to as noodle banquet (kook soo sang). In Korea, noodles symbolize prosperity and longevity. So, it means that the families wish the couple a happy and long life.

The noodles are boiled together with beef then served with vegetables. A rice cake called Dok together with meats, dips, and dumplings can also be served with the noodles. The attendees drink noodle soup and take sake in shots as they wish the bride and the groom a happy and long life. This is the final wedding ceremony.

Korean Wedding Banquet Examples

Menu 1

Gye Ja Che: This is jelly fish served with cucumbers and Asian pears in mustard
Chung Po Mook: Jelly pasta comprising of marinated mungbeans and beef mushrooms with some crushed seaweeds sprinkled over it.

Ho Bak Jook: Porridge made from pumpkin
Kaesong Che Na Mool: This is a salad of radish, water cress, beansprouts mixed together. It is sour and spicy but sweet.

Kaesong Bo Sam Kimchi: Kimchi with layers of pine nuts, bamboo shoots, and sliced carrots, plus other vegetables.
Yak Kwa Su & Jung Kwa: Punch of persimmon made from ginger cookie, cinnamon,  fresh ginger, and honey. 
Ku Jul Pan: Thin crepe served with nine ingredient.

Seng Ya Che: Green and fresh salad in a dressing of special sesame.
Sae Woo Tui Gim: King-prawn that’s deep fried.

Daen Jhang Ji Gae: Soy bean that’s fermented
Kalbi Jim: Marinated rib fillet served with soy sauce. 

Menu 2

Chop Che (Korean: 잡채 ): sweet potato stir fried noodle served with vegetables

Bulgogi (Korean: 불고기) : Stir fried marinated beef served with vegetables.

Hongeohoe (Korean: 홍어회) :Raw, lightly steamed Flying Fish with spices.
Dak-Nalgae (Korean: 매운닭날개) : Chicken wings fried with Korean spices

Sigeumchi (Korean: 시금치나물): Spicy blanched seasoned spinach
Ojingohoe (Korean: 오징어회 ): Raw lightly steamed  Squid with spices

Jokbal (Korean: 족발 ): Pork hocks jellied and boiled
Dotorimuk (Korean: 도토리묵): Acorn Jelly
Dweji PaJeon (Korean: 돼지 파전?) : Crispy pancake made from  scallion, pork,sesame leaf and onion.

Bo Ssam (Korean: 보쌈) : Pork belly boiled  and served with Napa cabbage (kimchi)
Gossari Namul (Korean: 고사리나물) :  Fiddlehead fern sprout stir fried

Tuigim variety (Korean: 튀김) : Fried meat, fish, and vegetables
Doraji Namul (Korean: 도라지 나물) : Bellfower root stir fried

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