Walking through the provincial city of Chuncheon, Korea, where I was a visiting professor of English at Kangwon National University,
I noticed that something special was going on. I peered into a courtyard where elaborate preparations were underway. Several people motioned for me to enter and explained that a traditional Korean wedding was to be held. This was becoming increasing rarer in the country, since it required not an unsubstantial expense, and it was a Confucian ritual that the large population of Christians in the country were superficially not longer practicing, although Confucianism still was deeply rooted in the world view of most. Many marry in ceremonies of the various Christian sects involving dozens if not hundreds of couples.
I was invited to attend the wedding, but asked if I could not first return home and bring my wife and daughter, which they immediately agreed to. Imagine passing by a wedding ceremony in the West and getting invited to attend!
The bridegroom with his best man
Best man and parents of the bridegroom
The bride had to demonstrate modesty and hide her face at the start. Traditionally, she had not even seen her husband before this day.
The Confucian master of ceremonies officiating
Facing her future husband for the first time.
Kowtowing to his ancestors as a way of demonstrating respect for them
Saying “I do”
Husband and wife
Wedding feast preparations
Friends of the wedding couple who invited me to watch
Time to celebrate and of course soju is then a must!