Wooden-goose presenting ceremony(奠雁禮)
A marriage procedure in which the groom offers a wooden goose to the bride’s parents.
Chohaeng (초행, 醮行) refers to the groom’s journey to the bride’s home to hold the wedding. On his arrival, the first thing he does is to offer a goose to her parents, a procedure called jeonallye. Initially, live geese were used but they have been replaced with black lacquered wooden versions. If a wooden goose was unavailable, a live chicken or goose made from rice cake was used as a substitute. When the groom goes to greet his bride, a procedure called chinyeong (Kor. 친영, Chin. 親迎, coming for the bride), a male attendant called gireok abi (lit. goose father) leads the procession, carrying the ceremonial bird in red wrapping cloth with its head on his left.
Meanwhile, at the bride’s home, a specific site inside the main gate is chosen for the goose-presenting ceremony. A straw mat is spread on the site where a folding screen is erected with a small table covered with a red wrapping cloth (jeonansang) in front. According to the established procedures, the bridegroom kneels in front of the table and the goose carrier hands the bird to him. Then, the groom places the goose on the table and bows with clapsed hands at face level, in the style called eup (揖) before standing up to perform two prostrations. While the groom conducts the ceremonial bow, the bride’s mother carries the goose in her skirt and throws it into her room where the bride is sitting. There is a saying that if the tossed goose lies on the floor, the bride would give birth to a daughter as her first child, and if it stands, a son.
Geese mate for life and are known for their devotion to their mates. As such the goose-presenting ceremony takes place as a prayer for the new couple’s eternal love and prosperity throughout marriage. Another reason for the selection of geese as the symbolic wedding bird is the affection and trust shown in their travelling as a group in search of warmer climates. In sum, considered as auspicious birds of fidelity, trust and love, geese symbolize desirable marital relations. This also reveals the Korean people’s emphasis on the virtue of morality.