Saturday, April 30, 2016

Garye for King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong

Garye refers to the wedding ceremony of kings, crown princes, eldest sons of crown princes, and the appointment of crown princes and eldest sons of crown princes. As it was a major event for the country, it usually took several months and mobilized several thousands of people. The event proceeds in the order of Nabchae, Nabjing, Gogi, Chaikbi, Chinyeong, and Dongroe

Garye for King Gojong and Queen Meyongseong at Unhyeongung Palace

Garye for King Gojong and Queen Myeongseong took place in March 1866 (the third year of the reign of King Kojong) in the following order:
  • Marriage was prohibited for all young ladies nationwide who were between 12 and 17 years on January 1 of the year in which Garye was going to take place.
  • Afterwards, Chogantaek (first screening) selected five ladies, and Jaegantaek (second screening) on February 29 whittled the number to three ladies, while Samgantaek (third screening) on March 6 Min Ja-yeong, the daughter of Min Chi-rok, was selected as the wife and queen of King Kojong.
Garye followed thereafter:
  • March 9 - Nabchaeeui proceeded at Changdeokgung Palace and Sunabchaeeui at Unhyeongung Palace,  a byeolgung (a separate palace)
  • March 17 - Nabjingeui and Sunabjingeui were conducted 
  • March 20 - Chaekbieui and Bisuchaekeui were conducted
  • March 21, during jinsi (7am - 9am) Chinyeongeui were conducted to receive the queen into Unhyeongung Palace, and during jeongsi (12:30pm - 1:30pm) Changdeokgung Palace served as a venue for Dongroeyeon, a ceremony in which the king and queen bowed to one another and shared drinks and tea before they had their first night.
  • Thus Garye as a ceremony for receiving the queen came to an end.
Note: Garye should have been conducted at the queen's father's house, but it was carried out at Unhyeongung, a byeolgung, because the big national ceremony presented too many difficulties to be handled at a private house. At Unhyeongung, Garye for King Kojong and Queen Myeongseong is reenacted according to Yukrye (six matrimonial procedures) twice a year. 

The Procedure for the Reenactment 

(1) Pre-ceremony Entertainment Performance

A traditional dance that heralds the splendid beginning of Garye for King Kojong and Queen Myeongseong

(2) Ceremony of Bisuchaek (the official designation of the queen)
  • Welcoming the king's envoy: The master of Unhyeongung welcomes the envoy who is dispatched from the royal palace with the official notice to designate the queen.

  • Queen-to-be's appearance: The queen-to-be enters the stage built at the north to be officially designated.

  • Announcement of the king's decree: After four ceremonial bows, the queen-to-be is officially proclaimed by a court lady as the queen. The queen performs four more ceremonial bows before she takes the designated seat.

  • The queen exits: Guided by the maid of honor of the chamber and the nurse, the queen retires.
(3) The Royal Procession Carrying King Kojong in a Sedan

The parade in which a number of officials and soldiers guarded King Gojong riding eoyeon (royal litter) to Unhyeongung for Garye (Unhyeongung - Insa-dong street - Nagwon Instrument Arcade - Unhyeongung).

(4) Gungjung Jeongjae (palace dancers)

Various palace dancers perform as they do on happy occasions in the palace.

(5) The Ceremony in Which the King Receives the Queen
  • Welcoming the king: The master of Uhyeongung welcomes the king and his attendants at the gate.
  • The king enters the byeolgung of the queen: Guided by the master and Jwatongrye (master of ceremonies), the king enters Unhyeongung and goes into socha (tent for the king), and the royal family and government officials enter the palace and line up.
  • The king takes the eastern podium: The king comes out of socha and takes the eastern podium on which he stands facing westward.
  • The queen take the western podium: She stands facing southward.
  • The king and queen take the northern podium: After taking the northern podium together, the master of the palace stands behind the king while the mistress stands behind the queen.
  • Jeonanrye (ceremony of serving the wild goose): The king receives a carved wooden goose and places it on Jeonanseok (the stone table for the ceremonial goose) at the northern podium.
  • Completing the ceremony: The king steps down from the norther podium and goes into socha. After the goose is removed from the Jeonanseok, the master and the mistress of the palace give well-wishing remarks to the queen.
  • A bow to the king and queen: After they acceded to the throne, all courtiers take a deep bow to the royal couple.

(6) Commemorative Photography

Photo time with the king and queen ... got to have those modern touches and get the spectators "actively" involved.

(above information from the program brochure)

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