Bride’s post-wedding journey to the groom’s home
Bride’s journey from her maiden home to the groom’s home, where she will spend the rest of her life, after marriage.
The time of a bride’s departure for the groom’s home after marriage varies greatly. Some newly married women spent a year at home before going to live with her in-laws for the rest of her life (which is called muk-sinhaeng or haemugi), while others spend a month (dalmugi) or three days (samil-sinhaeng). When the bride moves to the groom’s home the same day as the wedding it is called do-sinhaeng. In rural areas, until the 1950s it was common to spend a year at home first. But then it became more common to go to the groom’s on the wedding day.
The custom of a man visiting his wife while she is still living at her maiden home after marriage is called jaehaeng (Kor. 재행, Chin. 再行, lit. groom’s visit to the bride’s family). The groom must gain his parent’s permission for the visit and takes rice cakes and other food with him as gifts. He makes such a visit several times if the bride lives at her maiden home for an extended period of time. Even when the bride goes to the groom’s home on the day of the wedding, the groom makes a visit to the bride’s home. In Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, it is said the groom does this to wipe the tears of the bride’s parents who are sad to see their daughter leave them.
When the time comes for the bride to go to the groom’s home an auspicious day is chosen and she takes some gifts for the groom’s family. Usually she is accompanied by her father as the sanggaek (Kor. 상객, Chin. 上客, elderly member of the family who accompanies the bride or groom), who stays overnight at the in-law’s house. The bride travels in a hired palanquin, owned by the local community. If the groom’s house is not far away, she rides the palanquin all the way but otherwise, halfway she moves into another palanquin sent by the groom’s family. With the introduction of modern transportation, the bride took a train or rode in a car if the groom’s home was far away and transferred to a palanquin at the entrance to the groom’s village. Taking the journey in a palanquin was considered strict propriety, which had to be adhered to even if the groom’s home was just a stone’s throw from the bride’s.
The trip in a palanquin is uncomfortable for bride as she has to sit very still in a narrow enclosed space while the vehicle is in motion, which sometimes causes nausea. When she finally arrives, there is one last hurdle before entering the groom’s home. The litter bearers have to cross over a straw fire in the yard before she can go indoors. This practice called yangbab was believed to prevent evil spirits from following her into the house. It was commonly performed in rural regions until the 1980s when Western style weddings became the norm.
The bride would bring a jar of sticky (glutinous) rice with her, which her mother-in-law cooked to share with the whole family on the third day after her arrival. Sticky rice signified wishes for the couple to live happily together, to be so close that they are “sticky.”
The groom’s family holds a feast that they have spent several days preparing with the help of relatives and neighbors to celebrate the arrival of the bride. Neighbors bring rice or gamju (sweet rice drink) as gifts, and the groom welcomes the guests while waiting for the bride to arrive.