Finally home after a long 24-hour journey. And I got to meet Mr. Lee, the future bro-in-law, for the first time. A very distinguished young man. But you don't get to see his pictures here, I didn't take any because it didn't seem appropriate.
Mom and my sister rush to show me 함 /ha-m/, a package full of traditional wedding presents to the bride's family from the groom's, in the big box wrapped in red silk. Also coming with 함 /ha-m/ are the colorful sacks behind.
First item in 함 /ha-m/: 사주 /sa ju/, a document containing the groom's birth date and hour in lunar calendar. All this arrived the day before, usually done several days before the wedding. Receiving 함 /ha-m/ involves inviting family friends and relatives, and awaiting/receiving/opening of 함 /ha-m/ is carried on in the most dramatic and festive fashion... Lots of merry-makig and drinking occur... (apparently, quite a few people got real drunk, including the groom, who later got all red-faced and hugged my mom thanking her for bringing Nami up to such a fine young woman.)
사주 /sa ju/ written on the envelope: means "four pillars". Why four? Year, month, day and time. The piece of paper says the groom was born in the year of rabbit, 12th month, 7th day, and 2nd hour of the day.
혼서 /ho-n suh/, "letter of marriage". Traditionally written by the mother of the groom. In this case the mother wrote it herself; she studied calligraphy. How fancy... According to Grandpa, it translates roughly: our son has become an adult of marriageable age which has been a concern in our family. But now we are most grateful that your family has agreed to give your precious daughter as his bride... etc etc.
Red and blue are the colors of Korean wedding. 청실 /chung sil/ and 홍실 /hong sil/, blue silk thread and red silk thread, symbolizing the marital union, are meant to be kept for life.
한복 /han bok/, Korean traditional dress. This color combination, i.e. yellow-green top, red skirt and dark red-purple ribbon, is the color for new brides. The picture does not do justice to the prettiness! My sister is supposed to wear this at second half of the wedding ceremony which is done in a traditional way, and also when she makes visits to the groom's relatives homes after the wedding.
Bride's jacket is worn on top of the bride's dress. This used to be a garment for the Queen (not this particular one... the design is what I mean.) Lots of embroidery. The chest panel depicts a dragon, which is a royal symbol... On the right is 노리개 /no li kae/, traditional jewelry worn with 한복 /han bok/.
A red purse, to be worn with Korean traditional dresses, 노리개 /no lik kae/ and 오곡 /o kok/.
오곡 /o kok/, "five grains", in five colorful embroidered tiny pouches. 5 different kinds of grain seeds inside. A practice carried over from our agricultural root, when good-quality seeds were cherished.
Last but not the least: sets of bridal jewelry. Now you can see the true form of the gift box: it's a Samsonite travel case! Our ancestors thought of everything, the suitcase is for the honeymoon.
가락지 /ka lak ji/, korean style rings.
My sister showcases 가락지 /ka lak ji/ on her hand, with the red purse.
Now to pack the goodies back. This is my sister and bride-to-be, Nami.
Closeup on the big pouches. They contain different sorts of grains, such as rice, red beans, and hot peppers. The grains are for making 떡 /ttuk/, Korean rice cake made and served in ceremonies. Thought hot peppers are for Kimchi? Well, you're wrong! Hot peppers are a symbol of... well, sons. They are to wish for the couple's fertility, especially the male kind.
Mom, Dad and Nami marvel at my own contribution to the wedding goods, a 100% duck down comforter (king size) complete with two pillows. They flew over the pacific with me, all the way from Philly... Not my idea, an order from Mom.