Hanbok; Korean Folk Clothing

Germany has lederhosen, Japan has the kimono, Connecticut has Polo shirts and Korea has hanbok(한복). But what exactly is hanbok and most importantly, how can you get your hands on some of these wonderful articles of clothing and wear some for yourself?

The origins

The true beginning of these wonderfully designed and fabulously colorful sets of clothing are said to go back to the Joseon era (1392-1897), which is what modern hanbok is usually a reflection of, but the precedents for hanbok go back much further in Korean history, over one thousand years ago.

During the Joseon era though, hanbok and clothing of this style were worn every day. The different colors, symbols, designs and levels of intricacy of ones clothing reflected profession and social status. The general design of hanbok and the special rules, shapes, fabric, materials, colors, patterns, symbols and accessories all tell a story and all have symbolic and spiritual significance.

These rules and significance are mostly drawn from Confucianism and later Neo-Confucianism, which were both the official state religious philosophies and forms of government during Korea’s Joseon period. Symbolism from Taoism, Buddhism and Korean shamanism also play a role in hanbok’s unique, beautiful, lavish and exotic appearance. 

Hanbok: When To Wear?

Today, hanbok has made a big comeback thanks in part to Hanryu/Hallryu(한류) or “Korean Wave”. Hanbok inspired modern fashion pieces as well as traditional style hanbok are relatively common-place throughout Korea and other parts of the world today.

Baby Birthdays, Weddings

Hanbok is typically worn during holidays like Chuseok and Seolnal, during a baby’s Dol, which celebrates a baby’s first birthday, or a couple’s wedding, in which friends and family may wear hanbok and the bride and groom will wear a set of hanbok designed in the style of a Joseon king and queen as well as slightly more casual hanbok during the wedding reception.

Funerals

Black and white hanbok may also be worn during funerals. Hanbok is known to be bright, vibrant, vivacious and expressive and so black hanbok in particular is almost only ever worn for funerals, while white hanbok was the tradition color worn by most social classes during the Joseon era.

Tea Ceremonies, Cultural Events

In addition to these events or gatherings, people can be found wearing hanbok at Korean tea ceremonies and other cultural events, around Gyeongbokgung palace and at many of the hanok villages like in Jeonju. Near the latter sites, hanbok rental shops are common place and one can have the fun experience of wearing hanbok of various styles, patterns and designs. One can dress like a king or queen, like a scholar-official, a royal guard or even a gisaeng, a type of female entertainer of the Joseon era. 

How to wear hanbok

As mentioned above there is different hanbok for different events and there are particular ways to wear each article of clothing found in each different set of hanbok. So let’s take a look at a few different outfit sets and how the items are all worn in an ensemble.

Men’s hanbok

For men’s typical hanbok the outfit will usually consist of a wide sleeved shirt called a jeogori , a vest or jokki and baji or baggy pants as well as special slipper-like shoes. A traditional round, black horsehair hat known as a gat may also be included as well as a large, wide overcoat known as a durumagi. For those renting hanbok these additional items may cost a bit extra. To wear men’s hanbok properly, the baji, or pants should go on first. There may be some strings to tie around the waste along with a Velcro strap and a zipper to fasten the top of the pants. The ankles will also have short, thick adjustable strings to fasten the openings around your ankles. Next, one can put on the top shirt. This may also have fabric pegs to fasten the neckline. After this, the vest is put on. This one may be a bit tricky because the tassels that form the bow on the front should be tied a special way, while a pin or fastener can close the vest up. The vest is meant to be a bit shorter and tighter, while the pants and shirt and baggy and long. As for the gat, it will be tied and fastened on the head with special tassels, too. And the durumagi is also to be pinned off to one side and fastened with a belt. 

Women’s hanbok

women hanbok

Women’s hanbok includes a large, wide, flowing skirt known as a chima. Another garment is the wide sleeved jeogori shirt and then a short vest as an overcoat. Some style of hanbok may include an intricate woven wig or a wide brimmed circular hat that is fastened with ribbons and strings. A hairpin and other ornaments that have spiritual and symbolic significance may also be included and are different based on the occasion, ones age, ones marital status and ones social status. A long pair of white socks and slightly curved and sometimes heeled shoes may also be included with women’s hanbok.

To wear this hanbok properly, first, put on the long white socks, next put on the chima skirt, this will usually be attached to a thin sleeveless top garment. This is not a complete outfit though without a jeogori over the thin top garment. Fasten and zipper the back of the chima and then put on the top long sleeved jeogori. Like the men’s shirt, this one will be able to be fastened and strapped to one side in order to keep it closed. Next, the vest is put on over the long sleeved shirt. And its fabric tassels can be tied into ribbons and fastened accordingly. Traditionally, a women will wear their hair braided and bound in a certain style, again depending on age, rank and marital status. Usually young and unmarried girls and women will wear their hair in a single braid in the back. Married women can have their hair bound or in an up do similar to the Joseon era styles. Both men and women can wear a magoja, which is a type of jacket worn over the jeogori and the vest.

Children’s hanbok

The hanbok for children is of course similar to that worn by adults with a few distinctions. Children may wear what is called a ggatchi durumagi, which is a long and colorful overcoat fastened in the front with a ribbon. These coats are very splendid and have colorful sleeves decorated with alternating color patterns. In addition to this little overcoat, a cloth head wrap known as a bokgeon may also be worn. This cap is usually black and has a peaked top and fabric that extends down the back. Girls may wear a gulle, which can be black or very colorful and wraps around the head and ears. 

Wedding hanbok

Wedding hanbok resembles the clothing worn by the king and queen during the Joseon era. Colors can vary but the traditional colors are blue for the groom and red for the bride. The blue represents the dragon and the red, the phoenix. The dragon and phoenix represent the harmonious pairing of the male principle, represented by the aerial and amphibious Eastern dragon and the fiery and airy feminine principle that the Eastern Phoenix conveys. This is a more animated expression of the concept of yin and yang which is a philosophical tradition that extends throughout Korean society and even into the design of hanbok, too. This type of hanbok is often worn during a couple’s p’yebaek or during a whole wedding ceremony depending on how traditional the service is! 

For more information about Korean weddings, please visit the below page:

The Groom’s hanbok

This hanbok includes a large overcoat that is worn over another outfit, most likely standard hanbok. This overcoat is adorned with a vestigial belt around the waste that is hard and more ornamental than functional. A headdress similar to the one Korean kings would wear is also worn atop the head and a pair of black boots that reach to the knees may also be worn.

The Bride’s hanbok

The bride’s hanbok is truly exquisite. Her hair may be braided in a particular way and she will wear many hairpieces, like one long hairpin in the back just below her ears that holds flowing tapestry-like fabric adorned with intricate designs. She may also wear a large black headdress atop the head that is rounded and black and covered with gems and special pins. Over the bride’s standard hanbok or other clothing she will wear a red, flowing gown with large, wide sleeves that are lavishly ornate. The bride will also usually have two small red blush marks taped or painted on her cheeks. Another key feature is the large white fabric sheet that may be plain white or embellished with designs or Classical Chinese characters. This sheet is used to catch jujubes and chestnuts during the p’yebaek. 

Traditional electrifies the modern

Come and discover the amazing and rich cultural tradition of hanbok! Whether you are exploring the palaces of Seoul or enjoying the cherry blossoms in Jeonju, or even celebrating Korean Lunar New Year, wearing hanbok is the perfect way to immerse oneself in Korean culture. Thousands of years in the making have crafted and weaved life into hanbok. A life which is as rich and illustrious today as it was during the height of the Joseon dynasty!

Sources:

  • “Hanbok.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Dec. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanbok.
  • Ladner, Mimsie. “Hanbok: An Introduction to South Korea’s National Dress.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 25 Jan. 2017, theculturetrip.com/asia/south-korea/articles/hanbok-an-introduction-to-south-koreas-national-dress/.
  • “Weather 12-18-2019.” Visitkorea, english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/AK_ENG_2_2.jsp.

Korean Wedding Customs: You May Kiss the Bride & Pose for a Photo!

A wedding is a happy and special time for a couple. Even more so they get to experience first hand the one of a kind nature of a Korean wedding. Not all weddings are the same, but in Korea, there is an appreciation for uniformity and set ways of doing things. I believe a person’s wedding is always special and unique. But here are some things that often do follow a certain set pattern when it comes to Korean weddings!

If you’re attending a Korean wedding in the near future, then this article is a must read.

The venue: Korean wedding hall

 In the Western world, weddings can be held almost anywhere, most commonly though, a church or place of worship. Though many Koreans are some denomination of Christian and will have their wedding at a church, most Koreans of any religious affiliation will have them at wedding halls, hotels or convention center spaces. Wedding halls are venues that more or less look like a church but stripped of all the religious paraphernalia and imagery. So there is a raised walkway for the couple, an altar of sorts and other things like this, but no crosses or crucifixes.

Money envelopes

A big part of Korean weddings is the giving of chukuigeum (축의금) or wedding money. Cash is given at weddings as opposed to gifts. This is money that is used by the families of the bride and groom to pay for the wedding hall or venue for the wedding. The leftover money is for the new couple to enjoy on their honeymoon! The sum ranges from 30,000 Korean Won (25 USD) to 50,000 Korean Won (45 USD) but upwards to way, way more depending on the guest! The bills should be crisp, new bills and placed in special envelopes made just for weddings, usually with the Hanja (한자/Korean Classical Chinese characters) for “Congratulations on your marriage” printed on them. This money also pays for the buffet which is customary at Korean weddings, and damn are they good!

The buffet: Korean wedding food

Because the wedding is often booked at a venue where the space is rented for a few hours, the buffet is sort of a dine and dash! After the ceremony, the guests will go to the dining hall and begin enjoying the buffet. As fast as possible! Because as soon as the end time of the wedding is reached, everyone clears out immediately. My wife and I had barely finished the last of the wedding rituals that take place after the ceremony and greeted the guests before we could actually sit down and eat. And by the time we sat down to enjoy the free beer and soju, beef ribs and other goodies, everyone had pretty much already left!

The pre-ceremony

Many weddings are highly orthodox and orchestrated by a staff team who make sure everything is PERFECTLY right according to (their) standards. The pre-ceremony includes guests entering the main ceremony hall and turning in their chukuigeum to the families of the couple. The bride and groom or each of them separately, will have photos taken by a photographer and greet the guests as they enter. The taboo of the groom seeing the bride before the wedding does not appear to be a thing.

The main ceremony

To begin, a Korean wedding will probably be facilitated by an MC, who reads out to the crowd what is happening and also prompts the different steps of the wedding ritual. First, the mothers of the bridge and groom will light candles together on the altar or dais. After that, the groom walks out to the front of the altar, next, the bride accompanied by her father is presented. The bride and groom’s parents sit on either side, the mothers will both wear Korean folk clothes or hanbok (한복). The fathers will usually wear a suit or tuxedo and both sets of parents will wear white gloves to represent purity. Next will follow bows and hugs to and from both sets of parents, exchanging of vows, cutting the cake, the groom singing a song of love to the bride (the microphone stopped working when I sang mine, maybe for the benefit of the guest’s ears!). Next, the couple, after prompting by the mc, kiss, hold for the photo, and have a lovely procession off to the applause of their guests. The mc announces that the rest of the guests may go on to the buffet while close family and friends may stay for more photographs with the couple.

Traditional wedding, Pyaebaek

I was lucky enough to experience the traditional Korean wedding ceremony, known as pyaebaek (폐백). The whole wedding may be done in the traditional style, or others may be split between the Western style and Korean style ceremonies. For our specific case our pyaebaek took place after the Western ceremony. Though it can also be held a few days after the official wedding. Pyaebaek only includes the couple and close family (though our friends stood outside and took photos) and takes place in a small room designed to look like a Joseon dynasty room. Complete with murals and cushions on the floor and a table covered in a variety of different symbolic foods and snacks. Ours included a pre-cooked chicken decorated with paper to look like a pheasant and covered with jujubes, which will play a role later.

Korean wedding dresses

The bride and groom, will be dressed in the fine hanbok of a Joseon era king and queen. The colors may differ for the groom’s regalia but the bride is almost always dressed in a red gown and robe, the color of the Phoenix or Vermillion Bird in Chinese mythology, paradigm of female energy and female counterpart to the emperor of the animals, the dragon, paradigm of masculine energy, who is blue or azure or blue-green, the color of the groom’s regalia. My regalia was also blue, but I have seen men in violet regalia as well.

The ritual continues with a series of bows performed by the couple to one another and then to both of the couples parents and perhaps some other close relatives as well. We also bowed to my wife’s paternal uncle and aunt. A special bottle of cheongju (청주/청주술/special rice wine) or fine soju (소주/hard rice wine) is then poured into fine metal crafted cups and presented to each set of parents and to the couple themselves. The couple then get to sit in the seat of honor while the family performs bows to them. The parents may also make speeches and offer words of wisdom to the newlyweds.

Throwing chestnuts & Jujube

Next for the fun part! The bride and groom will hold out a long, wide, white piece of embroidered fabric like a net. The mother and father of the groom will then throw chestnuts and jujubes, representing children, one representing boys and the other one girls. The couple then tries to catch as many as they can and count them up to see how many children of each gender they will have! A jujube is also placed in the bride’s mouth and the groom bites the other end. Depending on how much of the jujube each one bites off, determines how much wealth each of them will earn for the household. Some traditional weddings also include a piggy back ride that the groom gives to the bride to represent how he can support her in life. Sometimes the mother, mother-in-law and maybe even grandmother will get one too! Other aspects of a full traditional wedding ceremony will include the close family and possibly friends all also wearing hanbok, the playing of traditional Korean instruments, and the bride being carried to the altar in an elaborate palanquin.

Wedding attire

Some observers may find it striking to see guests show up to the wedding in even just t-shirts or even jeans. This actually is not uncommon and is usually for more distant friends or relations. Certainly closer family and friends will show up in formal wear. The wearing of less formal attire is mostly done by children and younger people, however!

At last, the preferred wedding attire will depend on the couple and their families. If you’re attending a Korean wedding, please ask the couple or anyone who’s also attending.

Wooden ducks and tea ceremonies

The wooden ducks are a traditional gift presented to the couple. According to Korean folklore, ducks mate for life and so the presentation of the hand carved ducks wrapped in silk is meant to represent a long, harmonious and happy marriage together. In addition to the ducks, a special tea ceremony or darye (다례) presented by the groom to the family of the bride at their home may take place as well.

A wedding is a special event in a couples lives together, one enjoyed with family and friends. Korean weddings are no different in this regard! But, each one is imprinted with the uniqueness and deep cultural legacy of the Korean peninsula. I hope all my readers can get to experience the joy and culture of a Korean wedding at least once in their lives, just make sure to get to that buffet quick! Before the bride’s uncles eat all the beef ribs!

Wedding Preparations in Indonesia

Reception process

Having a wedding party in Indonesia is a long story to tell. Some said that it’s a 2-hour party with one-year preparation. Well, they might be right for some reason, because it’s not that simple to have a wedding preparation in Indonesia as we seen in the western country, for example. A lot of energy and consideration is needed to make a numerous decision. As the wedding is going to be a sacred party for couples, and they want to be the best party of their memories.

I can say that there are some differences between urban and rural areas in consideration. In urban areas, what becomes the primary concern is the elegance and luxury of the party, while in rural areas, the order of the tradition must be followed to keep the sacred of this wedding party. Religion and beliefs are also distinguishing factor in planning a wedding party.

Plan It With Budget

The reason why it’s a long story to tell is that it needs around 6-12 month preparation before the wedding day. But other couples may require only three months or less before the D-day. It depends on their daily schedule. As it going to spend a lot of energy, they prefer to use wedding vendors. Many vendors offer various benefits. Today, many wedding vendors in town, or on the internet. Couples can choose which one is the best for their desire and, of course, with their budget. However, in rural areas, some preparation is done by family and neighbor, such as food, place, and the entertainment. It happens because of a high sense of gotong-royong (cooperation) among these peoples. As far as I know, the average cost for Wedding preparation in Indonesia is around IDR 15 – 40 million.

Special Date and Invitation

Way before the D-day, couples need to choose a perfect date. Some couples prefer the long holiday to celebrate the party, but others are finding the best date based on certain reason. By asking a Kyai (a person who know about religions well) or Sesepuh (a people who know about the customs well).

I’m sure that every couple never wants to miss their particular moment at their wedding. So, they want to capture it by hiring professional photography service. Couples also need to prepare a souvenir and send an invitation to colleagues and families. But most of it is the invitation to their parent’s colleagues and families.

Akad Nikah and Gown

Before having a wedding reception, there is an Akad Nikah (wedding ceremony). is the main point of this wedding celebration. It is a religious ceremony to inaugurate the legitimacy of both brides as a husband and wife.

At the wedding reception, bride and groom wearing customs gown or the modern one, prepared by wedding vendor. Different customs required different preparation in some parts. But as a whole, wedding preparation in Indonesia is a long way to go.

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The life of New Couples in Cambodia

Generally in Cambodia, there is only men that start courting women even sometime women start to fail in love to men first, they still not dare enough to show their feeling. It can be say that because of the culture reflection. After a man start to feel in love or interest with a woman, he will try to follow that woman. In the past they will write the latter but for recently they will ask her phone number and call her. On the other hand, nowadays since the technology is updated, man can be ask her name in the social media (FB, Line and etc.) and chat with her.

Firstly, if the man and the lady can talk to each other much more or get on well together, they will their let their parents know about relationship between two of them. Each family will let their child to invite his/her partner come to visit home. Each parents will try to look at the attitude, appearance, personality, of child’s partner and ask them something about their family or their education/occupation. After the new couple got approved from their parents, the man will invite his parents come to visit his partner parents and start to propose the girl.

For the wedding, the groom’s family going to give the dowry to the bride’s family with the limit which they discussed. They will invite the monks to search for a good day for the wedding day. After the wedding day is selected, each families will prepare the invitation letter for the guests to join. Parents need to renew something in their house and start to book something for the wedding day such as foods, cameraman and something else for the upcoming wedding day.

Regarding with life of new couple after marriage, most of them going to live with the wife’s family. However, it is not hundred percentage for that because for the couple who are rich they may decide to buy their own house for living the rest of their life. Husband and wife will try their best to increase their income to support their living and save for their next generation. Then if the wife got pregnant and give birth to child, her husband will ask her to suspend the job and look after the family and the baby and even sometime stop the for the period. Man will try harder with his job while his woman is being a housewife. After two or three years till the child grow up and can to enroll the school, wife will seeking for a new job or run their small business to support the family. If the family go smooth, they will continue together till the rest of their time.

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Indian Weddings are indeed a grand affair

A Hindu wedding is one of the most sacred institutions, which incorporates many of these timeless rituals and traditions. These traditions and rituals would extend over several days anywhere between 3-5 days. Indian weddings are not only a union between two likeminded hearts; but also a bond between two families. Once the families have agreed upon the commitment, a series of events take place over the next few days.

1. Engagement ceremony (also known as Ring ceremony)

This is a very important pre wedding ritual. The bride & groom exchange rings, this ritual is a formal declaration of the upcoming nuptials. Once the exchange of rings has taken place, the date of the wedding is proposed.

2. Mehendi & haldi ceremony

Henna is used to apply intricate designs to the brides hand and feet. The mehendi ceremony holds significance in Indian tradition. Mehendi signifies love and is considered to be highly auspicious if the bride can retain her mehendi colour for a longer time, it indicates more love from her partner/husband.

Most often the mehendi and haldi takes place on the same day. Haldi and rose water is known to give you a flawless and a brighter complexion. This paste is applied to both the bride and groom at their respective places by elderly members of their families before they are washed by sacred water.

3. Sangeet Ceremony

Sangeet takes places after mehendi and before the big day. This adds the fun element to the wedding. This is where both the families get together to perform song-dance routines. This is a celebration of coming together of both the families. Women in the house get together and sing traditional wedding
songs to the bride.

4. Wedding day Indian

weddings are a special affair, to say the least. The mandap ceremony is performed in front of a sacred fire and hymns recited by the priest while the bride and groom take seven pheras (7 vows).
The wedding represents the bride’s parents giving her away to the chosen one. This is then followed by the Vidai ceremony. Vidai Ceremony symbolizes a new journey for the bride as she departs from
her parents’ house to go with her husband. A new life replete with new hopes and dreams beckons her. Vidai Ceremony is an affair of both joy and sorrow for the bride. You will see a sentimental outburst of emotions from the bride’s family. During Vidai Ceremony, the bride’s father formally gives away his daughter to her husband and wishes for her wellbeing.

5. Reception

This is the first appearance of the couple together after the wedding. The primary objective of the Reception Ceremony is to get the bride introduced to the family and friends. This event takes place immediately after the wedding. A lavish spread of appetizing dishes is offered to the guests who
come to give blessings to the newlywed.

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Marriage Practices of the Kankanaey Tribe in Northern Philippines

Marriage from courtship to post – marriage activities is a community undertaking in the Kinali culture.

Pre-marriage activities ensures the compatibility of soon-to-be partners in the Kinali community, and once united are expected to become productivemembers of society.

Kinali tribal courtships starts with the anag. Bachelors, after the farm works return to their villages, and take their rest at the dap-ay. From thence forth, they will make the customary journey into the olog, the designated dormitory for young girls and unmarried ladies of the village. Stories commence into the night, with the bachelors doing everything they can to woo the ladies into their side.

At times, farm works are required of the ladies to test the mettle and determination of the bachelors. These includes, but are not limited to pounding rice with mortar and pestle, gathering of firewood for the girl’s family, fetching water, carrying rice grains from the farms to the abode of the girl, and even looking after the cattle and livestock.

Every available methods are employed to test the soon to be member of the family, it include the observance of his character as well as values and attitudes.

At times, when bachelors have passed marrying age, of which is often nearing the mid-forties, the elders of the community perform the sagut. The sagut, is the traditional practice of pairing bachelors with spinsters, and at times younger girls even half their age. The idea for the latter, is for the girl to take care of the aging bachelor at old age. The consummation of such requires the approval of both parties, and the families should be amenable to the agreement.

Sukat the makan follows once the partners agreed to get married. This is the traditional practice of exchanging food, usually sweet potatoes and meat, between the families. In the old days, when the belief on tala (witchcraft and sorcery) and, kedet (food poisoning) was still prevalent, there is a need to established trusting relationships between families, thus the purpose of the sukat di makan.

Other practices includes the:

Daw-es – cleansing ritual

Begans – thanks giving ritual

Dawak – Traditional wedding

Senga – thanks giving party

Sekad di Gameng – passing of the inheritance during the wedding night

Bab-a-at – claiming of traditional gifts from relatives of neighboring villages

Bakid – the closing ritual to end the festivities

Summer festival(Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian) a call to a big celebration in Tadian,Mountain Province,Philippines,March 5,2011-The Kankanaey Tribes of Tadian Mountain Provinces clad in their colorful traditonal ethnic wear featuring the evolution of their native costumes from ancient time when barks of trees and plants were used as clothing material to the advent of cotton wherein colorful traditional ethnic designs are still beinbg used to the present time.the festival is three day celebration of traditional ethnic dances,music and merry making celebrated during summer after a bountiful rice harvest.

 

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Javanese Wedding Beliefs

Among Indonesians, Javanese is probably one of the most dominant culture. Rich with myths, legends,
philosophies, but yet humble. Javanese traditional costume, Kebaya, which is also part of Balinese and
Sundanese traditional costume, is recognized as Indonesian National Costume. Associated with grace,
elegance, and the trait of ‘alus’ , or refined in Javanese, it is natural for most Indonesia brides-to-be to
prefer Kebaya as their wedding attire.

To be paired with Kebaya, the bride would wear Batik to accentuate her look. Indonesian Batik has
distinctive motifs that differentiate its story and origin. Batik with ‘Truntum’ pattern, large and small
dots as the embodiment of light, symbolizes loyalty. The ‘Wahyu Temurun’ pattern indicates hope for
happiness, making it fit for use in weddings. Conversely, the ‘Parang Rusak’ pattern is believed to lead to
endless dispute, even separation, so it is not advisable to be worn in a wedding.

Conformity and Adjustment

Choosing what-to-wear can wait if you can’t find the right person to walk with. Regarding the
prospective husband, the bride and her family should also be cautious. As the Javanese still regard their
‘Primbon’ highly, the prospective groom shall have certain qualities. ‘Primbon’ is a Javanese method to
calculate perfect locations and timings for almost every event of life.

First of all, their ‘weton’ or birthday shoud be compatible. Based on Javanese horoscope, the
permanence, sustenance, happiness, and even progenies, of a marriage can be calculated. If these dates
are considered to be incompatible, you can atone such mistake by doing ‘tolak bala’ ritual to keep
misfortune at bay, for example, by piling up soil taken from certain place on a certain spot of the
couple’s house.

Another obstacle for the prospective couple is to avoid ‘Lusan’ marriage. ‘Lusan’ is short for ‘ketelu lan
kepisan’, roughly translated as ‘the third with the first’. There are two different types of this kind of
marriage. First, firstborn marrying thirdborn. Second, first person in his/her family to be married
marrying third person in his/her family to be married. Based on various reasons, from character
stereotypes to weton horoscope calculation, any ‘Lusan’ marriage is deemed to be potentially unhappy.

Is There Ever Really A Right Time?

Even after all those compatibility issues solved, the festivity of the wedding shall only be held after more
calculations. Most of all, the wedding shall not be held during ‘Bulan Suro’. ‘Bulan Suro’ is the first
month in the Javanese calendar and it is said that any celebration would be a taboo. As the year restarts,
people are expected to also cleanse themselves into a state called ‘suwung’, a spiritually and physically
immaculate condition.

The dates of each wedding rituals and ceremony shall be calculated based on ‘Primbon’ to make sure
that they are held in a good day. If you happened to be married on the wrong date, another ‘tolak bala’
ritual is necessary.

Although Indonesians are considered to be quite modern, their traditions lives on. These beliefs and
rituals rooted deeply, inseperable from everyday life and, especially, special occasions. It is common for
any culture to have so much fuss regarding weddings. When two people decided to tie the sacred knot,
the whole village shall cheer, and of course, protect the newly formed community unit.

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Traditional Chinese Pre-Wedding Ceremonies

The Chinese Wedding is considered to be one of the three most important ceremonies of life; the other two are birth and death.

The Chinese Pre-Wedding customs and rituals of traditional Chinese weddings were originally found in the Book of Rites, the Book of Etiquette and Ceremonies, and the Bai Hu Tong. The three books are now condensed into a series of written documents and known as the Three Letters and Six Rites. A traditional Chinese wedding that includes all of the six rites is therefore considered to be a complete wedding.

The Six Rites are:

  1. The Formal Proposal
  2. Presenting the eight characters of the bride to be to her prospective groom’s side of the family.
  3. The eight characters being placed at the ancestral altar to ensure the couple’s compatibility.
  4. Betrothal gifts sent to the bride to be, she in turn sends gifts to the prospective groom.
  5. The selection of the wedding date.
  6. The wedding ceremony.

The Steps to a Successful Wedding

The Selection of the Most Auspicious Dates

The first step to having a successful wedding in China is the selection process to find the most suitable date. A date will be selected on a combination of the birth dates, time of birth and ages of the prospective couple. Other factors to consider on the Chinese calendar are lucky or prosperous days. Even numbers are usually preferred and for many Chinese couple’s the preferred time is close to the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, when families are gathered together, everyone is happy and good luck is abundant.

Once the date is selected, the next detail to be decided is the type and quantity of all the gifts, such as betrothal gifts, reciprocal gifts, the price the groom must pay for the bride, and the number of guests and tables needed at the wedding banquet.

Betrothal, Exchanging Gifts and a Dowry

The exchange of gifts will begin with the family of the groom presenting their gifts to the bride’s family up to three months before the wedding; this symbolizes both good luck and prosperity. Another important ritual is the ‘bride price’ the dowry paid to the family of the bride, inside a red envelope. The family of the groom receives gifts from the family of the bride. The bride will also receive a dowry from her parents.

The gifts that are given are usually presented in pairs to represent a couple. Food items can be wine, tea or oranges. Jewelry given to the bride may be earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces of gold. Traditions in some areas also include dates and peanuts. In the Chinese language date is close to the word for ‘early’ and peanut for ‘birth’. The dates and peanuts are a blessing for the birth of a child within the first year or two of the marriage.

The ‘bride price’ the dowry given to the bride’s family varies from one region to another. Traditionally it is much higher in the south of the country. Once the exchanging of gifts and the dowry had been paid the date of the wedding is announced, invitations are written and distributed within two weeks of the wedding ceremony taking place.

The Bride’s Gift from her Parents

A few days before the wedding ceremony the bride may be given gifts from her parents, these gifts will include bedding, new clothes delivered in a suitcase, a tea set for the wedding ceremony and a tub filled with items for a baby. Other gifts include a sewing basket and gold jewelry.

The houses of the bride and groom as well as the venue for the wedding banquet will be decorated with paper cutouts known as ‘double happiness’. These cutouts will be pairs of ducks, dragons or phoenix. Red paper decorations will be hung around the doors to announce the wedding.

North Indian Hindu Wedding

“Smell of Flowers with Exchange of rings, scented envelopes filled with Blessings

Traditional attires on the queen and the king, is perfect and defines the Big Fat Indian Wedding”

Indian weddings are filled with charm and charisma and are extremely popular across the globe.

North Indian weddings are known to be loyal to their customs and traditions and bring loads of energy and exuberance to all the people present around.

No matter from where you belong, you will become a part of the sing and song. 

SAGAI/SAGAN/MANGNI/ROKA

This ceremony is performed at the groom’s house and is the first step towards the wedlock, which symbolizes the new relation between the two families. On this auspicious day, pundit performs the havan (sacred fire) around which the bride’s family sits with the groom. The bride’s father performs the Pooja (prayers) applies Tilak/Teeka on the groom’s forehead as a mark of blessing. He offers him with expensive gifts like gold, clothes, accessories and feeds him with sweets.

This is followed by Chunni Sadan/Chadhana, which is performed by the groom’s family and the bride. The mother in law of the bride offers her with saris, expensive gold/diamond jewelry, and feeds her with sweets. Relatives of the groom’s family feed the bride with dry-fruits and sweets and adorn her with the jewelry.

Once the above ceremonies are over, the bride and the groom exchange their rings and receive the blessings of all the elders and love from their family and friends.

“Sweets and gifts is what we receive

Performed by the pundit during sacred fire

Family and friends are all around us

Spreading love is all what we desire”

MEHNDI

Mehndi is another pre-wedding ritual performed in a north Indian wedding. Mehndi is a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant It is a form of body art where decorative designs are applied to the women’s palms and feet. This is also applied to the groom’s palms as a mark of Shagun. It is a common belief that the darker the color of the mehndi, the stronger will be the bond with her husband and mother in law. The groom’s name is hidden in the mehndi of the bride, and it is a common ritual for the groom to find his name on the bride’s palms. It is a belief that if he fails to do so, the bride will dominate the household after wedding.

“Smell of the green leaf on her palms

Turning from green to red and red to brown                                      

Mixed are the feelings of anxiety and excitement

Waiting for the day to come down”

SANGEET

Sangeet ceremony usually follows the Mehndi ceremony and is held at the bride’s home. The womenfolk of the household gather around the bride and engage themselves in dancing, singing and having fun. In the modern way of doing things, families hire DJ to play the music wherein all guests and families have their dance performances. The trend these days, involves Cocktail to be combined with Sangeet ceremony.

“Laughter and chatter is spread in the air

With family and friends all around

Dancing and singing on their favorite numbers

It’s amazing with all the lights and sound”

HALDI

Haldi ceremony is held separately at the respective houses of the bride and the groom. It takes place on the same day morning of the wedding D Day. In this ceremony, the bride and the groom are applied with thick coats of haldi (turmeric paste) on their faces, arms and legs by their families and friends. It also includes the relatives of the groom performing Pooja and touching the groom’s feet and shoulders with mango leaf that is dipped in haldi. It is traditionally believed that the antiseptic qualities of the haldi protects the couple from any cuts or bruises and keeps them healthy. It also infuses a natural glow to the skin.

“Bright and sunny as the day is here

Yellow is the color in the room

Fun and frolic is the theme today

Glowing are the bride and the groom”

SHAADI

On the day of the wedding, the groom’s family takes the transport to the wedding venue arranged by the bride’s family. Usually it is either a fancy car, decorated with flowers which is used as transport or a female white horse called Ghodi on which the groom will sit and ride in the Baraat. The Ghodi is fed with Chana as part of the ritual before the groom rides it. Friends, family members and relatives dance to their fullest on the dhol while reaching the venue of the wedding.

The bride, dressed in a beautiful lehenga or sari wearing heavy jewelry walks towards the Mandap. She is escorted by all her brothers holding chunni far above her head. This symbolizes, brothers handing over their sister to the groom, so that he takes care of her throughout his life. The bride and the groom exchange their garlands and sit next to each other. This ceremony is called Jai Mala.

The pundit performs the havan (sacred fire) around which the bride’s father will formally give his daughter’s hand to the husband-to-be. This ritual is called Kanyadaan.

The pundit will chant the 7 Vachan (7 promises/vows) that the couple must chant and agree to. This is followed by tying the couple together with a red chunni to take 7 rounds of the sacred fire. This ceremony is called Pheras. The pundit chants the sholkas and gives his blessings to the newly wed. The husband now puts red sindoor (vermillion) on the wife’s forehead and mangalsutra (holy necklace) around her neck as a sign of their marriage.

The bride now must leave her home officially and go to her new husband’s home (Sasusral). There is extreme pain and emotion, felt by the bride’s family as they are getting separated from their daughter. She walks away from the house by throwing rice to her parent’s home (Maika). This symbolizes that this home remains prosperous even after she leaves, as the daughter in Indian family is considered Goddess Lakshmi. This ceremony is the last one and is called Vidai.

With a pink of romance and blush of red

Deeper and stronger is my LOVE

Forever yours and always with you

Are the vows that have taken us high above

This day, this moment is what I have longed for

Waited and waited all my life

Tied the knot to be with each other

Together as Husband and Wife

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The Big Fat Indian Weddings

It is said that “Marriages are made in Heaven”, but in India, most marriages need an approval from the families of both the bride and groom. Marriage can be either love marriage or arranged marriage, but in both cases consent of respective families are important and sought after. Unlike the Western countries, wedding in India is a big social event especially if the bride or groom is the only child in the family. It’s an opportunity for the parents to display their social status and invite their relatives, friends, colleagues and associates to lavish events of the wedding. Yes, you heard it right, events and not a single event of tying nuptial knots followed by meals.

The Hindu wedding

Most Hindu weddings consist of multiple events spread across three to four days. Engagement being the first ritual of the wedding and marks the all-important approval of the families of both the bride and groom. Engagement period can last from few months to couple of years or can be a formality ritual clubbed with the wedding events. Engagement is followed by another ritual of setting up the wedding venue with prayers and limited attendance of close family members. Once the wedding venue is set-up, the bride’s family conduct the “Mehendi” ceremony which is the artistic application of natural henna on the hands and feet of the bride and other female members of the family.

The ceremony

“Mehendi” ceremony is followed by “Haldi” ceremony for both bride and groom. In “Haldi” ceremony, turmeric paste is applied on the body and face of bride and groom for extra glow on skin and purification of the body since turmeric is anti-septic. The evening marks the beginning of “Wedding songs event” where the female members of both families sing traditional wedding songs followed by the family and guests dancing and grooving to DJ music. Wedding songs event is generally accompanied by snacks, beverages and dinner.

On the wedding day, the bride’s family becomes the host of the event and the groom’s family come to the wedding venue as a “Baraat” which is essentially a procession of groom’s family and guests. The groom rides on a horse to the wedding venue and family and friends once again dance and groove to DJ music. Welcome of the groom and “Baraat” is done by the bride’s family and it’s a fun event with groom’s family trying to protect the groom from the pranks of the bride’s family members.

The wedding ceremony generally starts at the predefined auspicious time period and is marked by the bride’s father performing the “Kanyadaan” ritual which literally means giving the bride away to the groom. This is followed by “Hast-milap” the hand shake of bride and groom and tying of “Mangalsutra” – the wedding necklace on the bride by the groom. The wedding ceremony is then completed by “Saat-fere” which is the seven rounds of holy fire by bride and groom with seven vows followed by taking blessings from the elders. Food is served to the guests simultaneously during the wedding and normally continues for more time after the wedding is over.

Indian weddings are lavish and costly affairs with lot of spend on clothes, gold ornaments, gifts, home and venue decoration, food and beverage, travel arrangements, etc. It’s normal to have 1,000 to 1,500 invitees in a wedding which spans over three to four days and hence the famous title “The Big Fat Indian Weddings”.

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Marriage Ceremony in Pakistan

Marriage in Pakistan is a legal union between a man and a woman. Culturally, it is not only a link between the husband and wife, but also an alliance between their respective families. Because about 97% of Pakistan’s population is Muslim the Islamic law is usually observed. Some of the most common events that are held in a Pakistani marriages include marriage Proposal, Engagement, Dholki, Mehndi (Henna), Barat, Nikah, Registration, Reception, Rukhsti (Farewell), Valima (Walima), and Honeymoon.

One man having multiple wives is permitted in Pakistan wife gives attested written permission. However, it is now less common, especially in urban areas.

Marriages are often arranged within the family or within the same community or ethnicity. Social and educational statuses are very important in arranged matrimonial alliances. However nowadays, love marriages are slowly becoming more common and acceptable in Pakistan. Arranged matches are made after taking into account factors such as the wealth and social standing of their families. A marriage can also be made within the extended family.

Some main customs of Pakistani Marriages

  1. Dastar Bandi or the “Wearing of the turban” is a ceremony which is performed in parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The ceremony marks the start of manhood for the groom. Elder men in the groom’s family place a turban on his head and formally include him in the ‘circle of men’.
  2. Doodh Pilai is a ceremony which is prevalent in many Pakistani weddings. On the actual wedding day, sisters, cousins or friends of the bride will bring milk for the groom. After he drinks the milk, he is supposed to present them with money and presents.
  3. Maklava is a predominantly Punjabi custom. Traditionally, the marriages were arranged and often contracted between people from different cities and villages. This often meant that the bride was unfamiliar with her new family. To ease her into the new life and surroundings, she was brought back to her parents’ house a few days after the wedding. She then spent some time at her parents’ house before heading back to her new husband’s home. This practice is still prevalent in most rural areas of the Punjab.
  4. Chauthi or the fourth day after the wedding the brides parents host a dinner for the immediate family members of the groom, often this is marked with playful traditions like hiding the shoes of the groom and a lavish feast.
  5. Guthna Pakrai is a Punjabi custom in which the younger brother of the bridegroom holds the knee of the bride and doesn’t let go until some acceptable monetary gift is given to him.
  • Darwaza Rukai (doorway blocking).
  • Juta Chupai (shoe hiding).
  • Sehra Bandhai (garlands dressing).
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Marriage in the Philippines

For most Filipinos, marriage is a holy ceremony. It is solemnized by a priest or any religious officiate and held at a church. It is a life-long decision and breaking it is considered an unforgivable sin. Before marriage, a period of courtship and engagement should be done first. During the courtship a suitor will have to prove worthy of the hand of a Filipino woman by performing different traditional courtship techniques. Some of these techniques include, the traditional “harana” or serenade, bringing foods for their family whenever visiting the woman in their house, and performing servitude wherein the suitor will do the household and farm chores of the family. If the woman and her family will approve the suitor, they will be an official couple.

After years of being together, if they decided to get married, engagement will then follow but before the man gets the approval of the woman he should formally ask for the approval of the woman’s family which is called “pamamanhikan”. The man will formally introduce his parents to the woman’s parents. If the family will approve the engagement, the wedding will be planned right away. Marriage in the Philippines will require legal documents. The couple should present original copies of birth certificate and baptismal certificate to the local civil registrar. It is forbidden to get married if you are under 18 years old. Couples within the age of 21 to 15 should obtain parental advice or else their marriage license will not be issued. Couple will have to wait for 10 days for the marriage application to be posted and they will pay certain amount, charged for their marriage license.

Marriage counseling is also an important requirement for the license to be issued. Two witnesses of legal age are required. Also, the wedding should be solemnized by any religious officiates. Also, the wedding should be held at public places unless they have sent a request to perform the wedding at a different location. Another thing is that the Republic of the Philippines does not allow marriage by proxy and marriage of relatives up to the fourth civil degree is strictly prohibited. The marriage license is valid for 120 days from the day it was issued. Those are the requirements needed to be able to get married. If the couple has already set the date of their wedding they can already start making preparations. The making of invitation should be the first one to be done since it has to be given to the guests before the wedding day. The bride will have to wear a wedding gown and barong for the groom. Same with the wedding guests, the color of their clothes shall be based on the couples’ choice. During the ceremony, an hour-long mass will be done. There are also certain wedding paraphernalia that includes the arrhae, the candles, the veils, the cord, and wedding rings. After the wedding, everyone will then proceed to the wedding reception.

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