> Korean Food Culture > 4 Ceremonial Occasions
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GwanRye (Coming-of-age ceremony)
This is a ceremony
for becoming an adult, an event performed at the coming of
one's socially responsible age. In the old days of Korea,
the ceremony was called 'Gwan-Rye' or 'Gye-Rye' according
to gender of the subject. Gwanrye is the ceremony for young
man, which is processed by tying hairs into a topknot and
putting a traditional cylindrical hat on the subject's head.
Gyerye is for young woman, which is processed by forming a
chignon and sticking ornamental hairpin into hairs. Gwanrye
(or Gyerye) has been performed not only to celebrate reaching
of maturity but to guide the youth to conducting good manners
in social life and possess quality required as a matured person.
Gwanrye is origin of the coming of age ceremony which is prevalent
nowadays to socially acknowledge a juvenile's becoming an
Origin of Gwanrye
Gwanrye had been originated from
China. Presumably the ceremony had been introduced into
Korea together with Chinese etiquette in Korea's three-kingdom
era. The first record on performing Gwanrye, a Confucian
ceremony for becoming an adult, is found at?History
of Korea?written in AD 966. It is recorded that Gwangjong,
king of Korea dynasty, clothed his son in ceremonial
garment and anointed him as crown prince. In Euijong's
era, the 18th king of Korea dynasty, the description
of 'performed ceremony of clothing prince' is also recorded.
Gwanrye was performed for youth aged from
15 to 20. An auspicious day, normally in January, was selected
for the ceremony. If January was not proper, the first day
of April or July was chosen. It was a formality giving youth
responsibility as a grown-up. After getting through the formality,
youth was expected to behave towards parents, brothers and
society. It has worked well as a substantial ceremony.
The ceremony was composed of 3 consecutive
events, and garment for the first event included trousers,
Jeogori (Korean jacket), vest and Jeonbok or Sagyusam, along
with Bok-gun on head. For the second were added leather belt
and shoes. Samo, official outfit, and Gwandae were worn in
the third event. Female in the first event of Gyerye wore
red skirt and yellow Jeogori, and in the second was clothed
in Durumagi with Ayam on head. In the third event the subject
put on Wonsam with Jokduri on head.
Parents, brothers and relatives of the
subject gather to attend the three events of Gwanrye ceremony.
(1) Chogarye (first event)
This is processed through packing up hairs of the youth to
tie a top knot. Female wore red skirt and yellow Jeogori on
this occasion. (2) Jaegarye (second event)
At the second ritual, a straw hat was put on the subject.
Young woman wore skirt, Jeogori and Durumagi with Ayam on
head. (3) Samgarye (third event)
At the third stage, straw hat was taken off and Bokdu was
put on instead. Female was dressed with Wonsam in addition
to skirt and Jeogori, with Jokduri on head. When three events
are finished, the art of ceremonial tea-making is demonstrated
and tea is served to participants.
Young man, the subject of Gwanrye, and
his father report to shrine 3 days before the ceremony, bringing
some food such as fruit, slice meat and wine. They lay the
food before ancestral tablets, open the box containing ancestral
inscription (Hondok), burn incense, present poured cup, and
make two bows. They then kneel down before incensed table
and read admonitory address in a loud voice. On the day of
ceremony, they go through the mentioned three events and afterward
they offer a feast for guests, in particular, for the one
who presided over the formality. Various side dishes such
as rice cake, noodle, fruits, sweet rice drink, fruit punch
and wine are served at the feast.