Tuesday, April 17, 2007

100 Proof

Someone's been counting the days since the wedding. It's my wife's best friend, who helped out on the day and been handed the bride's bouquet after it was all over. It wasn't because she was wondering how long it would last, instead she had a duty to perform one-hundred days after the ceremony took place - burning the bouquet to ensure our marriage would be a trouble-free one. Today, apparently, was the 100th day.

So other plans were dispensed with and two hours later, and inexplicably near a dozen soldiers with large guns milling about on the street above us, we were perched on an embankment opposite Eulsukdo Island trying to light the now long-withered flowers armed only with a cheap lighter against a stiff breeze blowing in from the sea. We only succeeded in burning the lighter, which stopped working after a sufficient amount of its plastic melted.

We drove across the bridge to Eulsukdo and its park with accompanying vendors where, one new lighter later, we finally created our fire. We also succeeded in attracting the attention of an elderly local man who sidled up to us to ask what we were doing, followed shortly by his wife to whom he repeated our explanation. "We never burned anything and we've had a happy life" she told us. It seems this 'tradition' is a relatively modern creation by the younger generation, and the man thought it was a pointless superstition - but he stayed until the fire burnt out.


The exciting and talented James said...

Hello again Mike,

sounds like an extremely modern tradition, because my wife (who's also Korean) or her friends have never heard of it, and we certainly didn't do after our own wedding day. It's not like we're over the hill either :) - I'm 31, she's 28.

I wonder where your wife's friend got it from?

Mike said...

Hello James,

Yes, it does seem like it's emerged recently - although clearly not everyone's heard of it and it seems to have a social networking/viral-marketing quality to its spread. I suppose that's how these things get started.

We did find quite a few references around the web though (all in Korean unfortunately), here's a Naver link.

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