Wedding night(初夜)

Wedding night

Headword

첫날밤 ( 初夜 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Hollye

Writer LeeGilpyo(李吉杓)

The frist night on which the bride and groom sleep together after the wedding.

As Jeong Yak-yong described in his work “Garyejakui” (嘉禮酌儀, Protocols of Offeirng Wines in the Rituals of Royal Weddings), Korea made it a rule to hold the wedding ceremony at the bride’s house, and most often the bride and groom spent their first night at the bride’s house after the wedding. However, different regions and situations sometimes led the just-wed couple to spend their wedding night at the groom’s house.

As the wedding night draws closer, a l iquor table is prepared near the less warm part of the room. In the Gangwon region, along with fruits, rice cakes, and deep-fried sweet rice cakes (yugwa), the table was also set with rice, water, thread, coins, and liquor in separate containers with a lid. This table setting is called sillangsang japgi (lit. the groom picking up [an item] on table). The contents of the container the groom first opened were used to predict the fortune of the newly-wed couple. If he opened the lid of the rice-filled bowl, it is said that the couple would live a carefree, happy life without the fear of hunger; if he picked water, they were believed to live in a cool environment; if he picked thread, they were thought to live long; if he picked money, they were believed to accumulate a great fortune. However, if the groom first opened the liquor container, the bride was said to suffer distress due to the groom’s love of drinking liquor. In addition, sometimes there was an empty container, and if this was the one the groom picked first, it was believed that the couple would have an impoverished life.

In a bridal chamber, a liquor table is set in the colder part of the room and the bedclothes and pillows in the warmer part of the room. The groom sits on the east side and the bride on the west side. Sumo (Kor. 수모, Chin. 手母, female wedding helper) seats the bride and the groom on given seats and then informs the bride of how she should behave in the bedchamber before leaving. The groom helps the bride take off her wedding clothes and the bride vice versa.

In Jeollabuk-do Province, there was a wedding tradition in which the groom and the bride sat on opposite sides of a liquor table and together drank haphwanju (Kor. 합환주, Chin. 合歡酒, liquor that the just-wed couple drink together to celebrate wedding), an act symbolizing the unity of minds and bodies. When the liquor table was put aside, the bride and the groom lit a candle and put up a screen in front of the door of the wedding chamber before going to bed. During the night, relatives and family members sometimes made holes in the papered door and peeked into the room. The tradition of relatives peeking into the nuptial bedchamber came about because unfortunate incidents sometimes occurred on the wedding night, including abduction of the bride by a stranger. In other words, relatives and family members lingered nearby until the couple fell asleep to guard against an unfortunate event. When the candle went out, the female relatives and family members on watch went to hang kkotjangdeung (Kor. 꽃장등, Chin. 長燈, f lower-shaped top-lights) on the eaves of the roofs of the women’s and men’s quarters of the house.

Wedding night

Wedding night
Headword

첫날밤 ( 初夜 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Hollye

Writer LeeGilpyo(李吉杓)

The frist night on which the bride and groom sleep together after the wedding.

As Jeong Yak-yong described in his work “Garyejakui” (嘉禮酌儀, Protocols of Offeirng Wines in the Rituals of Royal Weddings), Korea made it a rule to hold the wedding ceremony at the bride’s house, and most often the bride and groom spent their first night at the bride’s house after the wedding. However, different regions and situations sometimes led the just-wed couple to spend their wedding night at the groom’s house.

As the wedding night draws closer, a l iquor table is prepared near the less warm part of the room. In the Gangwon region, along with fruits, rice cakes, and deep-fried sweet rice cakes (yugwa), the table was also set with rice, water, thread, coins, and liquor in separate containers with a lid. This table setting is called sillangsang japgi (lit. the groom picking up [an item] on table). The contents of the container the groom first opened were used to predict the fortune of the newly-wed couple. If he opened the lid of the rice-filled bowl, it is said that the couple would live a carefree, happy life without the fear of hunger; if he picked water, they were believed to live in a cool environment; if he picked thread, they were thought to live long; if he picked money, they were believed to accumulate a great fortune. However, if the groom first opened the liquor container, the bride was said to suffer distress due to the groom’s love of drinking liquor. In addition, sometimes there was an empty container, and if this was the one the groom picked first, it was believed that the couple would have an impoverished life.

In a bridal chamber, a liquor table is set in the colder part of the room and the bedclothes and pillows in the warmer part of the room. The groom sits on the east side and the bride on the west side. Sumo (Kor. 수모, Chin. 手母, female wedding helper) seats the bride and the groom on given seats and then informs the bride of how she should behave in the bedchamber before leaving. The groom helps the bride take off her wedding clothes and the bride vice versa.

In Jeollabuk-do Province, there was a wedding tradition in which the groom and the bride sat on opposite sides of a liquor table and together drank haphwanju (Kor. 합환주, Chin. 合歡酒, liquor that the just-wed couple drink together to celebrate wedding), an act symbolizing the unity of minds and bodies. When the liquor table was put aside, the bride and the groom lit a candle and put up a screen in front of the door of the wedding chamber before going to bed. During the night, relatives and family members sometimes made holes in the papered door and peeked into the room. The tradition of relatives peeking into the nuptial bedchamber came about because unfortunate incidents sometimes occurred on the wedding night, including abduction of the bride by a stranger. In other words, relatives and family members lingered nearby until the couple fell asleep to guard against an unfortunate event. When the candle went out, the female relatives and family members on watch went to hang kkotjangdeung (Kor. 꽃장등, Chin. 長燈, f lower-shaped top-lights) on the eaves of the roofs of the women’s and men’s quarters of the house.