60th wedding ceremony
Ceremony celebrating one’s 60th wedding anniversary.
In the traditional Korean society of extended families, little significance was attached to wedding anniversaries with the exception of hoehon, or the 60th wedding anniversary. To hold a banquet to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary, it was a prerequisite that the couple had grown gray together with one or more children between them, of whom none had died. On this anniversary, the elderly couple dress in wedding garments reenact the wedding ceremony as if they are newly-weds. Descendants offer liquor to them and pray for their longevity while relatives and other guests congratulate them on the festive occasion. The descendants, all in clothes of vivid colors, try to make their parents happy by dancing and acting childishly before them.
The size of the banquet varies depending on the descendant’s social status or wealth. In times when the average lifespan was short, only a few families celebrated a 60th wedding anniversary. So, if the rare chance came, upper-class families took advantage of the occasion to express their filial piety and boast of their grandeur by hosting a big banquet and inviting a lot of people.
These days, however, increased life expectancy has led to a growing number of senior couples who have lived together to the 60th wedding anniversary. Also with urbanized nuclear families becoming the dominant family type, the husband and wife are at the center of family life and, as in the West, wedding anniversaries are now regarded as special occasions to celebrate. As such, more emphasis is being placed on the 60th wedding ceremony.
The descendants hold the ceremony to pay their respects and express gratitude to their parents. For the elderly couple, the occasion shows others how happy their family is while making them feel rewarded for their joint efforts to nurture the children well who now have their own families. To sum up, the ceremony is based on the virtue of filial piety and a strong sense of family clan.