> Korean Food Culture > 4 Ceremonial Occasions
and Food > Hon-Rye
This is a traditional marriage service for a couple, thereby
linking two families and creating a new family. It
is a ceremony of forming a social unit through union of
According to『Yegi』(old Chinese book on etiquette),
Hon-Rye is formality to receive spouse. The name ‘Hon’
was derived from that spouse was normally received at sunset.
Wedding customs are changing by times, and they are also
different according to ethnic group, social class, economic
and religious conditions, etc.
The procedure of
traditional wedding in Korea consisted of 6 courses, i.e.
Eui-Hon, Nap-Chae, Yeon-Gil, Nap-Pye, Dae-Rye and U-Gui. These
steps are different from the 6 courses recorded at Chinese?Ju-Rye?or
the examples of?Ga-Rye?, which means that although old Korea
had adopted Confucianism as a national policy, our ancestors
had pursued our own marriage custom. It seems the spirit and
thoughts of Korean people have been embedded in the ceremony.
Our marriage tradition calls for equality in husband-wife
relations, as proved in the saying that "When man and
woman become a couple, same level of treatment shall be
exchanged between husband and wife."
According to that spirit, couple was supposed to speak each
other with politeness. It is a desirable spirit worth
being inherited to couples of our time.
Family of would-be bride or bridegroom first makes inquiry
of appearance, personality, learning, family breeding, etc.
of the other part through matchmaker. When both parties
conclude each other agreeable, commitment of marriage is
made, which process is called 'Eui-Hon.'
Proposal letter and acceptance letter are exchanged at this
This is an important formality that shall be processed carefully
and thoroughly as it is the starting point of marital relationship
between two families.
Nap-Chae, also called 4 stars or 4 pillars, is a formality
of sending a letter with description of bridegroom's birth
date and hour to bride's house. Actually it is proposal
of marriage from bridegroom to bride, which is an indispensable
step whether they had engagement ceremony or not.
When bride's family accepts the proposal, the formality
is proceeded to the next stage.
including chief mourner wore the mentioned garments for 3
years, 1 year, 9 months, 5 months and 3 months respectively
according to degree of kinship. In the old days, duration
of wearing was ordained but nowadays keeping such period is
not demanded any more as it is not practical.
? Mourners wore white overcoat (Korean traditional suit) along
with hempen hood on head and mourning badge on breast (or
band on sleeve). Female mourners wore white skirt and coat
with white rubber shoes.
? Nowadays when using Western clothes, black suit shall be
put on together with black neck tie, black socks, black shoes
with hempen badge on breast or band on sleeve.
After Yeon-Gil, bridegroom's family sends a box containing
articles necessary for wedding ceremony to bride's house
in a formal way, which is called 'Nap-Pye.'
* Procedure of bridegroom's sending the box
① Ceremony of dispatch is held at the gathering of
groom, his father and relatives at his house.
② A folding screen is set up and a mat with flower
patterns is spread at the site.
③ A table is placed for the ceremony, which will be
covered with ceremonial cloth.
④ Marriage paper and stationery are laid in front
of groom's father, while Nap-Pye box, its cover and belt,
blue and red fabrics (present), letter-paper, thread and
various simple gifts are laid in front of groom's mother.
⑤ Would-be groom in formal suit will be seated before
table, and other family members will be seated on both sides
according to degree of kinship.
⑥ Groom's father completes marriage paper and puts
it into envelope, while groom's mother stitches up blue
and red fabrics, and puts them in the box by prearranged
⑦ Marriage paper is then laid on top of the articles.
⑧ Wrap all the contents with cloth and tie with belt.
* Procedure of receiving the box at bride's house
① A folding screen is set up and a mat with flower
patterns is spread at the receiving site.
② Place a table for the ceremony, and cover it with
③ Lay an earthenware on the table.
④ Cover it with a wrapping cloth of blue and red color.
⑤ When Nap-Pye box arrives at bride's house, it will
be placed on the table or above the earthenware. After
band is untied and wrapping cloth removed, bride's father
picks up marriage paper and reads it.
In the old days, moving of box was carried out by 'Hamjin-Abi,'
who was a selected servant or employed by groom's family.
Nowadays, however, groom and a few friends of his backpack
the box in quiet and unnoticed way, which seems a desirable
* Requirements for Nap-Pye
- Documentation: written marriage paper
- Presents: o each one piece of blue and red fabric (for