Pyebaek is a Korean wedding custom that is traditionally held a few days after the official ceremony, with only family members present. The ceremony begins with the older couple seated on cushions behind a table in front of a painted screen, with the newlyweds opposite them. The newlyweds perform a deep bow which begins standing and ends with the newlyweds pressing their foreheads to their hands while kneeling on the floor. The bride may present the groom's parents with jujubes (Korean dates) and chestnuts, which symbolize children. A variation will have the newlyweds offering cups of wine, usually cheongju. The bride offers the cup to the father, and the groom offers the cup to the mother. Sometimes the parents will then also offer the newlyweds cups of cheongju or soju. The older couple then shares some wisdom on marriage from their advanced experience. Finally they will throw the jujubes and chestnuts back at the bride, who has to try catching them with her wedding skirt.
Modern Korean weddings have incorporated the Pyebaek ceremony after the reception. The original Pyebaek was exclusively for the groom's side of the family to be introduced to the new family member, the bride. In current day Korean weddings, they have also allowed for the Pyebaek ceremony to be with the brides side of the family also.
Commercial services exist to assist those unfamiliar with how the ceremony is performed.
It is said in ancient Korean customs that one must have a bachelor party in every month leading up to the wedding day, with each month's gathering successively greater than the last for fortune, health, and wisdom will be brought to those who attend, their families, to the bachelor, and lifelong youthfulness and beauty to the lovely bride.
YoungHee Kim and Sung-Yeon Park, professors at Bowling Green State University, view the resurgence of this traditional wedding practice as an example of reverse acculturation and cultural integration in which individuals both adapt to a new culture while maintaining a connection to the native culture. By adding the Pyebaek ceremony to their wedding festivities, Korean-Americans, whether they are marrying another individual of Korean heritage or not, have begun to introduce their heritage culture into the mainstream culture of the United States.
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