Setting the wedding date Lit. choosing auspicious date(涓吉)
Setting the wedding date by the bride’s family after receiving from the groom’s family saseong (Kor. 사성 Chin. 四星, box containing a note of the groom’s birth date, blue and red threads knotted together, some six yards of fabric for the bride’s dress). It is also called nalbaji (lit. receiving the date), napgil (Kor. 납길, Chin. 納吉, lit. receiving auspiciousness), or chugil (Kor. 추길, Chin. 諏吉, lit. choosing auspicious date).
Setting the wedding date has been considered one of the most important formalities in marriage preparations as marriage is a major life event. The history book “Samguksagi” (三國史記, Historical Records of the Three Kingdoms) contains the story of a woman named Seolssinyeo, who refuses to wed a man “on just any day” even though they have to marry quickly because the man is about to enlist in the military. In old times, when women and men were not allowed to date freely and arranged marriages were the norm, it was on the wedding day that the bride and the groom met for the first time and their spirits were united with those of heaven and earth, which is called hapdeok (Kor. 합덕, Chin. 合德, lit. union of spirits). This is why such great significance was attached to choosing the wedding date, a custom included in yungnye (Kor. 육례, Chin. 六禮, six steps of the marriage ceremony).
After two families agree on the marriage of their son and daughter, the groom’s family sends saseong to the bride’s family. The document noting the groom’s hour, day, month and year of birth is called sajudanja (Kor. 사주단자, Chin. 四柱單子, document of the groom’s horoscopic data). In return, the bride’s family sets a wedding date and informs the groom’s family of it. Also enclosed with the notice of the wedding date is a document called heohonseo (Kor. 허혼서, Chin. 許婚書, lit. letter of approving of marriage). In some exceptional cases, the groom’s family chose the wedding date, in which case it is called mattaegil (lit. reciprocal date selection).
But it is considered more appropriate for the bride’s family set the wedding date as the preparations are more complex on the bride’s side and it is necessary to take her menstrual cycle into account. The two families first agree on a broad time frame based on which a specific date is chosen. In some regions, there are days that have to be avoided such as days in the months when their parents married, days when bad things happened in either family, or the death anniversaries of their ancestors.
But today such customs no longer hold significance, and weekends or holidays are preferred so that more guests can attend. Nothing could be better of course than a wedding day to coincide with an auspicious day according to traditional customs.