Among the national intangible cultural heritage is the custom of Korean wedding ceremony.
It includes cultural levers such as a ceremony that declares a man and a woman as a couple, customary activities and the social relationship formed in the ceremony.
The wedding custom which has been succeeded up to now includes the wedding procedure, wedding dressing and wedding table.
The most important one among them is the procedure.
There are two cases of the wedding ceremony: in one of them the bride and bridegroom have wedding parties in their own homes and in the other they have a joint wedding ceremony in one of their homes—this is called hapjanchi in Korean.
The first case applies the ancestral custom in which a wedding ceremony is given in honour of the bridegroom at the bride’s house first and then a similar party is provided for the bride at the bridegroom’s house.
The party for the bridegroom begins with welcoming him to the bride’s house. The bride and bridegroom meet and bow to each other before entering a room to sit at the wedding table.
After the bridegroom’s party, the bride’s one takes place which begins with the bride leaving for the bridegroom’s house along with him.
The bride makes a deep bow to her parents and leaves for the bridegroom’s house in a palanquin following the bridegroom on a horse. A group of her attendants called usi accompany her to the house of the bridegroom.
On arrival the bride is led to the wedding table and makes bows to the bridegroom’s parents, and other members of his family and relatives.
The wedding parties for the bride and bridegroom are both done with simple rituals which are attended by their close relatives and friends who offer congratulations and enjoy some simple dishes.
The dressing is also important in the wedding custom.
In the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910) the wedding attires were usually samogwandae (wedding clothes worn by the bridegroom) and chilbodanjang (the bride’s dress decorated with seven treasures).
But samogandae disappeared as it failed to conform to the modern aesthetic sense. It was replaced with the practice of the bridegroom wearing gorgeous paji and jogori that are traditional Korean trousers and jacket. The bride wears colourful chima and jogori that are traditional women’s wear.
The wedding table is also important in the wedding ceremony.
The old practice that emphasized putting a lot of dishes such as rice cake, meat, candies and fruits, on the wedding table in several lines has given way to the modern way of using flowers for a greater ornamental value.
The typical thing which is still alive in the practice is to put a couple of chickens on the table facing each other.
This was originated from the old custom of putting live chickens on the wedding table.
This was because chicken was regarded as kiljo (a lucky bird) and a symbol of tanamtabok (having many sons and great happiness) as it lays many eggs.
The Korean wedding custom is developing in accordance with modern aesthetic senses to reflect the national social custom and improve friendship, harmony and unity between the relatives, friends and neighbours.