Paebaek

Bride wearing a hanbok during a paebaek ceremony A paebaek ceremony setupA Paebaek ceremony is a traditional Korean ceremony performed at weddings. It usually takes place after the wedding ceremony and is limited to family members. Recently, Paebaeks are increasingly performed in front of guests, especially in America.

Contents

History

In Korean tradition, the marriage between a man and a woman represents the joining of two families, rather than the joining of two individuals. This ceremony was originally intended as a way for the bride to pay her respects to the groom's family, with whom she traditionally lived with after the wedding.

The engaged couple will enter together dressed in ceremonial Korean wedding attire called hanbok. Their parents, the honorees, will be seated in front of a table laden with various edibles and tea (or soju - rice wine). The couple will bow deeply to the honorees, then kneel as one pours tea/soju. Once each honoree drinks the tea/soju, they impart wisdom, advice or a wish for the couple's future.

Finally, the honorees will throw dates (symbolizing girls) and chestnuts (symbolizing boys) which the bride will try to catch in her skirt. According to legend, the number of dates and chestnuts caught signifies how many children she will bear. Later in the evening, the couple is supposed to eat the dates and chestnuts that were caught.

Modernization

The paebaek ceremony was originally a way to pay respect to the groom's family but since brides no longer live with the groom's parents after the wedding, many couples have modernized the tradition. Relatives on both sides of the family are often invited to participate and offer blessings to the couple.

When a Korean-American gets married, they will often do both a Western ceremony and a Paebaek ceremony.

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