Lit. groom’s visit to the bride’s family
Bridegroom’s first visit to the bride’s maiden home after the wedding.
Jaehaeng refers to the first visit to the bride’s maiden home by a groom, who returned to his family after the wedding was held at the bride’s house. Generally, jaehaeng takes place before sinhaeng (Kor. 신행, Chin. 新行, post-wedding journey of the bride to the groom’s home), and it can be carried
out with his parents’ permission after receiving a message from the bride’s family. Jaehaeng is meaningful as the first visit to his wife’s maiden home after chohaeng (Kor. 초행, Chin. 初行, groom’s first visit to the bride’s home to hold the wedding ceremony). This practice derives from the fact that marital customs centered on the wife’s family. The oldest record on jaehaeng, found in records of the Goguryeo kingdom in the “Book of Wei” of “Samgukji” (三國志, “Sanguozhi” in Chinese, Records of the Three Kingdoms), shows that once marriage was arranged, the bride’s family built seook (Kor. 서옥, Chin. lit. 壻屋, a small house) in the yard. When the groom came at dusk, asking for permission to sleep with the bride, the bride’s parents approved and guided him to the seo-ok. The groom presented money and gifts to his in-laws, and returned to his parent’s house with his family when the children grew up.
This tradition was carried on in dalmugi or haemugi sinhaeng (also called muk-sinhaeng), in which the groom returned to his parent’s house, without his wife, after the wedding and spending the first night together at the bride’s house. He came back for her after a month (dalmugi) or a year (haemugi).
In the meantime, the groom visited his wife’s family, which is called jaehaeng.
It was during jaehaeng that the groom made an official greeting to his parents-in-law, so for this occasion, pyebaek (Kor. 폐백, Chin. 幣帛, gifts to in-laws accompanied by a deep bow) was offered to pay respects. If jaehaeng was performed right after the wedding, a bottle of liquor and chicken was considered enough, but if months or years had passed before jaehaeng, or the wife’s geunchin (Kor. 근친, Chin. 覲親, a married daughter’s visit to her parents) took place at the same time, the groom was expected to prepare rice cake, liquor or meat. The bride’s family returned this favor with a proper set of gifts: in Gyeongsang-do Province, this is called jeongseong. Jaehaeng was often accompanied by dongsangnye (Kor. 동상례, Chin. 東床禮), in which neighbors asked the groom embarrassing questions and hit him on the soles of his foot if he did not answer, or asked him to treat them with food and liquor.
Jaehaeng was a cultural device to help the groom quickly grow accustomed to the bride’s family, relatives and local community. As marital customs changed, jaehaeng was also modified to be performed before or after the bride’s sinhaeng. The groom’s jaehaeng was performed months or years after the wedding (like the bride’s muk-sinhaeng) or accompanied by the visit of the wife’s married sister to her parents’ home, which reflected a shift of focus in marriage from the bride’s family to the groom’s. In recent years, newly-weds visit the bride’s family first after their honeymoon, and this is a vestige of the jaehaeng practice.