Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Presenting the Wedding Duck

No traditional Korean wedding ceremony would be without a pair of ducks (or geese). Knowing that ducks mate for life, a wedding couple would be presented with a carved set. Traditionally, the ducks would be carved by an honorable friend who would carry out the task without payment and pass his fortune (wealth, health, good wife, many sons, and divorce-free family) to the new couple through the gift. These "five fortunes" attributes were more important than the carving skill of the man. Wedding ducks are comprised of two parts - the head/neck and body. The bill of the female is sometimes tied with red thread, symbolizing the Confucian belief that a wife must obey their husband. Above we see the male duck being presented, wrapped in a bojagi called a gireogibo which has embroidered symbols of happiness on the top.

The day prior to the wedding ceremony, the groom went to the bride's home to meet the parents. He presented the duck to the family as a token of his lifelong loyalty to their daughter. The mother of the bride would place it on the bed chamber for the next day; if it stayed upright, it meant that the firstborn would be a boy. Even after marriage, the position of the ducks were symbolic; if facing bill-to-bill, it signified that all was well. If tails faced each other, discord might be amiss.

No comments: