Weddings in Korea House, Chungmuro, Seoul - 77
Getting married in Korean House
What better way to learn about Korean culture, than to attend a traditional style Korean wedding! I had the privilege on a Saturday morning in October 2003, to see one of my students marry her English fiancée, at ‘Korea House’ Chungmuro, Seoul. The majority of Korean brides do not these days, choose to have a traditional wedding, hence this was a unique opportunity to see a piece of Korean culture, with traditional dress and customs acted out in the wedding.
Before the wedding, before I realised that this kind of wedding is not so popular these days, I presumed that this was going to be the usual Korean wedding. This reminds me of when I lived in Finland, when I did the thing where you go from a sauna down to a lake, and put your whole naked body under the very cold, icy water of the lake. It was only afterwards that I found out that most Finnish people have not even done that. Nowadays in Korea, weddings are usually held in wedding halls, with Western style dress. After the Western style ceremony, they also usually hold a short private ceremony, where traditional Korean customs are undertaken, with the parents and bride and groom present.
Traditional Korean Wedding experience
At the traditional wedding I attended, the ceremony clearly looked to be a very physically demanding task for the bride, with the bride having to hold her arms aloft (parallel to the top of her shoulders) throughout the ceremony - keeping her face covered until she is married. The experience can be equally physically demanding for the man, who must go through a sequence of bows as part of the ceremony, leading up to the introduction of his future bride. A certain amount of flexibility is required and this is not an enormous problem for Koreans who tend to be fairly agile. It scares me though, when I imagine some large double sized American women, getting married in this style, bending down once and ending up flat on her back and unable to get back up. Maybe it has already happened.