SEOUL, Korea — Fortunetellers, wooden geese, a couple of live chickens, a black cap with wings and a small carriage.
Put all of these seemingly unrelated items together with a professional matchmaker, and you might be witnessing a traditional Korean wedding from the Joseon dynasty.
On a street stage in the Insadong neighborhood, the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation solicits Koreans and foreign visitors alike to participate in the wedding ceremony. Everything is free.
Parents pair the bride and bridegroom, and the wedding ceremony is viewed more as a joining of two families than two individuals. After a formal letter accompanied by gifts arrives at the home of the bride, her parents decide whether to accept the offer.
A fortuneteller is consulted to select the best date for the wedding ceremony.
Clothes are important. Dressed in bright, festive clothing reflective of royalty, the bride tops off her wedding attire with a ceremonial headpiece. The bridegroom, dressed in wide-legged pants to assist in bowing and sitting during the ceremony, wears a stiff black cap with wings on the side and black, cloth boots.
While the bride and bridegroom remain somber throughout the ceremony, dancers in colorful costumes carrying fans provided a celebratory performance in honor of the new couple.
An entourage moves down the street, carrying the bride in a small, wooden carriage enroute to celebrate with her new inlaws.
The bridegroom and his family bear most of the expense. Now that is not traditional by modern rules.