100 days…

I have 100 days until I can start a fire and get married.

What’s that?

You want to know why I don’t start a fire before then?

Good question. I don’t have a good answer. (Is there ever a good reason not to start a fire?)

Oh, wait.

You have no idea what in the hell I’m talking about?

Haha! I get to burn stuff! That’s right it’s tradition for the woman who catches the bride’s boquet to dry the flowers and burn them after 100 days. All in the guise of wishing the newlyweds a happy and prosperous year. After the 100 days have passed, the flower catcher is now free to get married as her duty to the newlywed is finished.

Curious about those flowers?

I was lucky enough to get invited to a Canadian-Korean wedding. I had met the groom just once, but seeing as Jennifer needed a place to stay and I needed things to do attending a wedding seemed like a great idea. Jennifer and I arrived at the wedding with a few other friends of the groom just in time.

We slowly navigated out way through the grounds of what was once a Confucian school, but now seems to be a historical site where weddings are performed. I was surprised to see that many of the guests were dressed in their usual wear. Somewhere between business casual and casual with an emphasis on light and loose-fitting. All guests were seated at tables outside the main temple where the wedding ceremony would take place.

The guests were having a great time catching up, playing games and chit-chatting as the sunny slowly dipped in the sky. The ceremony began at some point inside the temple, but seeing as I nor many of the guests could see much, the crowd continued to chat. I was shocked by how non-seriously many of the guests seemed to take the wedding. Fifteen minutes later, I realized why.

A traditional Korean ceremony is beautiful and interesting, but it’s also long and difficult to follow. Although the preist spoke into a microphone, we couldn’t see the action so it was difficult to pay attention. Especially when there were interesting people to talk to, weird bugs to look at and buildings to photograph. Throughout the ceremony people were talking, walking and otherwise completely ignoring holy matrimony.

When the ceremony ended, the guests helped themselves to a huge buffet. There were dozens of foods I couldn’t name. There were soups, kimbap (sushi), salads, fruit, desserts, seafood, lasagna and even an entire fish. The guests’ feasting began between the wedding ceremony itself and the ceremony where the families are officially introduced/thank each other.

I went a little overboard and piled my plate high with all the good and interesting looking things. Then realized, I had made it through one of two lines. I was starving! But there was so much food. There was no way I could try everything.

The food was delicious! Catered wedding food usually ranks on my list of things-I’d-rather-not-eat-but I-will to-be-polite. But this time, it did not. I need to get myself regularly invited to these shindigs. The food was fantastic!

After the feasting, the bride and groom changed from the traditional hanbok into the traditional gown and tux of Canada. They had a small ring ceremony in front of the temple. It was beautiful! Plus they said their vows in English so I could understand. Jason and Mun Hae’s vows were some of the sweetest, I’ve witnessed.

Then there was the flower throwing. The ladies and I trudged through the mud to get the flowers, but in the end my junior high school basketball skills proved helpful as I caught the boquet in midair.

Now I’m just counting the days to the fire festival!

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About kristamaesmith

I'm a writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah where I cheer for the Jazz, walk my dog, and spend too much money in local restaurants. I work in marketing for higher education and blog about food, travel, film, and whatever shiny moment catches my fancy.
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