Monday, April 16, 2012

Traditional Korean Cultural Treat : Joseon royal marriage

What was a royal marriage like in the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910)?

The “Uigwe” or royal protocols that were returned last year to Korea from France, after an absence of 145 years, testify that royal weddings were magnificent.

Numerous vassals lined up behind the king while the royal band filled the court with music, adding to the splendor. On Monday, the National Museum of Korea, in cooperation with the Presidential Council on Nation Branding reenacted a royal wedding in Seoul. It was to bring to life some of the Uigwe’s content.

For a court wedding, the Joseon Kingdom employed several thousands of people over several months to organize the procedure of six aspects of the wedding ceremony. The procedure comprises “napchae” “napjing,” “gogi,” “chaekbi,” ”chinyeong” and “dongrae.” For instance “napchae” indicates sending a messenger with a formal proposal letter to the future queen, while the “chaekbi” step is the crowning the future queen and “dongrae means the consummation of the royal marriage.

The red wedding robe and the crown of the queen-to-be are decorated with symbolic artwork. The red attire of the future queen represents her role a helper to the king and a further blessing to the king. The pattern of a pair of birds on the robe signifies the harmony between yin and yang, or the affinity between the married royal couple.

With the recent popularity in Korean traditional dramas, about 200 people attended the event including Choe Kwang-shik, culture minister, Lee Bae-yong, chairwoman of the presidential Council on National Branding and Kim Young-na, director of the National Museum of Korea.

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