Coming-of-age ceremony for boys
The coming-of-age ceremony for male members of the Korean society in the past to celebrate their reaching the age of twenty, that is, adulthood.
Gwallye was performed for boys who were soon to marry or who had reached the age of twenty. This coming-of-age ceremony for boys took place according to the following procedures.
① Taegil (setting the date): The ceremony had to
take place on an auspicious day or, if the families concerned found it difficult to set such a date, a day in the first month of the year. If they also found that impossible, they picked the first day of the fourth or seventh month. This was because they believed that the coming- of-age ceremony would be the starting point for a person to play his role as a responsible human being.
② Preparation: The most important part of the preparation was to find someone to preside over the entire coming-of-age ceremony. According to the books on ritual matters, the officiant should be chosen from the friends of the eldest grandson of the head family to which the boy coming of age belonged.
③ Sigarye (Kor. 시가례, Chin. 始加禮): In this part of the ceremony, the boy pulled his hair into a topknot and put on a black headcloth called chipogwan. The man coming of age first wore two topknots together with a robe called sagyusam and colored shoes, and then changed the two topknots into a single one, covered it with chipogwan, and held the topknot in place with a hair rod. He then took off the sagyusam and replaced it with a scholar’s robe, which he wore with a large band around the waist and black shoes.
④ Jaegarye (Kor. 재가례, Chin. 再加禮): Ritual of wearing a top hat called gat. With the hat on, the man coming of age took off the scholar’s robe and wore a white robe with a belt.
⑤ Samgarye (Kor. 삼가례, Chin. 三加禮): Ritual of putting on a Confucian headcloth. Wearing the headcloth, the boy changed from a white robe to a blue one, which he wore with a black silk band.
⑥ Chorye (Kor. 초례, Chin. 醮禮): Liquor drinking ritual.
⑦ Jagwanjarye (Kor. 자관자례, Chin. 字冠者禮): In this part of the ceremony, the man coming of age received a courtesy name from the ceremony officiant.
⑧ Hyeonusadang (Kor. 현우사당, Chin. 見于祠堂): This is the final part of the ceremony during which the father of the man coming of age takes him to the family shrine to report the event to their ancestors.
This traditional family ceremony was an opportunity to share the joy of the occasion with their relatives and friends and prepare the young adult for the duties and responsibilities he was expected to fulfill.