Bride’s post-wedding between spirits journey to the groom’s home(靈魂結婚式)

Bride’s post-wedding between spirits journey to the groom’s home

Headword

영혼결혼식 ( 靈魂結婚式 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Hollye

Writer LeeYongbum(李龍範)

A wedding between the spirits of a man and a woman who died before marriage.

Yeonghongyeolhonsik is performed throughout the country. It is generally believed that such a marriage is only carried out in shamanism, but it is not rare in Confucianism, Buddhism, and reportedly in Moonism as well.

Yeonghongyeolhonsik is commonly known as a wedding between the spirits of a man and a woman who died before marriage. Yet, this is not always the case: sometimes, one of the couple is alive, so the ceremony is between a living person and a deceased person. If a man and a woman lived together and raised a child without being married and the husband passes away, then a yeonghongyeolhonsik could be held between the living wife and the deceased husband. Also, it is not strictly confined to those unmarried. The ceremony can be performed between a married man and a single woman, a single man and a married woman, and a married man and a married woman. Even people who were once married can also be eligible for yeonghongyeolhonsik if they became single before or after death.

Straw scarecrows were formerly used to symbolize the bride and groom at such a “spiritual wedding” but they were replaced by dummies when they became commonly available. At a ceremony between a living person and a dead person, the former marries a dummy representing his or her dead partner.

It is a common practice that the shaman or monk who officiates the ceremony designates who marries whom, but sometimes family members or neighbors can make the choice.

The list of participants in the ceremony varies depending on the format it takes. At a shamanic wedding performed in the neighborhood, it is natural for neighbors to attend the ceremony, so the range of participants is not limited to family and relatives. On the other hand, at a Confucian or Buddhist spiritual wedding, most participants are family members or relatives of the bride and the groom. This is also the case at a shamanic spiritual wedding if it takes place at a shrine (gutdang). A primary characteristic of yeonghongyeolhonsik is that it is performed for the deceased, which indicates that ilsaenguirye (Kor. 일생의례, Chin. 一生儀禮, ceremonies marking major transitions in the life of an individual) affect the deceased as well as the living. Yeonghongyeolhonsik presupposes the continuity of life before and after death. If life before and after death is different, there is no reason to hold rites for the deceased.

In addition, yeonghongyeolhonsik demonstrates the significance of ilsaenguirye in human life. It is a ceremony that endows legitimacy on an ancestor who died unmarried, which could have made them unable to properly serve as an ancestor. It demonstrates ilsaenguirye holds such significance as to bring about existential changes even to those deceased, let alone those alive. Yeonghongyeolhonsik is generally performed when a deceased person appears in a dream of his or her family members, or a series of misfortunes occur supposedly because of someone who died unmarried. Or it may be carried by family for someone who died without marrying. In any case, this ceremony presupposes that a wedding bears significance as an essential rite of passage. In this regard, yeonghongyeolhonsik is a good example of the meaning and importance of ilsaenguirye in human life.

Bride’s post-wedding between spirits journey to the groom’s home

Bride’s post-wedding between spirits journey to the groom’s home
Headword

영혼결혼식 ( 靈魂結婚式 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Hollye

Writer LeeYongbum(李龍範)

A wedding between the spirits of a man and a woman who died before marriage.

Yeonghongyeolhonsik is performed throughout the country. It is generally believed that such a marriage is only carried out in shamanism, but it is not rare in Confucianism, Buddhism, and reportedly in Moonism as well.

Yeonghongyeolhonsik is commonly known as a wedding between the spirits of a man and a woman who died before marriage. Yet, this is not always the case: sometimes, one of the couple is alive, so the ceremony is between a living person and a deceased person. If a man and a woman lived together and raised a child without being married and the husband passes away, then a yeonghongyeolhonsik could be held between the living wife and the deceased husband. Also, it is not strictly confined to those unmarried. The ceremony can be performed between a married man and a single woman, a single man and a married woman, and a married man and a married woman. Even people who were once married can also be eligible for yeonghongyeolhonsik if they became single before or after death.

Straw scarecrows were formerly used to symbolize the bride and groom at such a “spiritual wedding” but they were replaced by dummies when they became commonly available. At a ceremony between a living person and a dead person, the former marries a dummy representing his or her dead partner.

It is a common practice that the shaman or monk who officiates the ceremony designates who marries whom, but sometimes family members or neighbors can make the choice.

The list of participants in the ceremony varies depending on the format it takes. At a shamanic wedding performed in the neighborhood, it is natural for neighbors to attend the ceremony, so the range of participants is not limited to family and relatives. On the other hand, at a Confucian or Buddhist spiritual wedding, most participants are family members or relatives of the bride and the groom. This is also the case at a shamanic spiritual wedding if it takes place at a shrine (gutdang). A primary characteristic of yeonghongyeolhonsik is that it is performed for the deceased, which indicates that ilsaenguirye (Kor. 일생의례, Chin. 一生儀禮, ceremonies marking major transitions in the life of an individual) affect the deceased as well as the living. Yeonghongyeolhonsik presupposes the continuity of life before and after death. If life before and after death is different, there is no reason to hold rites for the deceased.

In addition, yeonghongyeolhonsik demonstrates the significance of ilsaenguirye in human life. It is a ceremony that endows legitimacy on an ancestor who died unmarried, which could have made them unable to properly serve as an ancestor. It demonstrates ilsaenguirye holds such significance as to bring about existential changes even to those deceased, let alone those alive. Yeonghongyeolhonsik is generally performed when a deceased person appears in a dream of his or her family members, or a series of misfortunes occur supposedly because of someone who died unmarried. Or it may be carried by family for someone who died without marrying. In any case, this ceremony presupposes that a wedding bears significance as an essential rite of passage. In this regard, yeonghongyeolhonsik is a good example of the meaning and importance of ilsaenguirye in human life.