Abundance of blessings and happiness

In Korea, the first party that many newborns experience is the 100th-day party. During the time when the death rate of children was high, the babies who survived the first 100 days were considered blessed with good health. It was one of the reasons to celebrate for the babies and their families. In this party, the table is set with rice, rice cakes, and fruits. In addition, the fortunetelling items are placed on the table for the ‘grabbing’. Rice or money meant wealth, yarn or noodles meant longevity, and brush or ink bar meant success. For the girls, needles or scissors were placed instead of bows. The happiest party in a person’s life would probably be the wedding ceremony. Since the Age of the Three Empires, pigs and chickens were placed on the tables for the wedding ceremony because they symbolize fertility. Pomegranate, grapes, and dates were also widely used. Since the 15th Century, the food was generally arranged in four rows on the party tables, but it was later ignored due to the ruling class’ vanity to put more on their party tables than on other guests’ tables. <Sejong Sillok> said, “It would be better to set the party tables in four rows and follow the traditional customs.”

The party tables for the wedding ceremonies were called ‘Keunsang’ or ‘Gobaesang’. The food was piled up as towers on Gobaesang, and this was Korea’s original culture to celebrate special occasions, such as a wedding, a 60th birthday, or a 60th wedding anniversary. It symbolized colorful table settings. The best Gobaesang was set on King Sunjo’s birthday in February of his 29th year (1829). The piles of food reached approximately 65 centimeters. The party culture of the Asian countries had similarities with only minor differences. In China, they celebrated the ‘Full Month’ party when a newborn survives the first 30 days. This was similar to Korea’s 100th-day party. Japan celebrates ‘Kaneki’, which is similar to the 60th birthday in Korea. It began with the upper class during the Nara Period in the 8th Century and spread to the commoners. Music is essential for parties. In the traditional Korean culture, the entertainment that was closely related to parties was called ‘Pungryu.’ Pungryu was developed in different ways, including the grand-sized royal performances and the humble Pungryu of the commoners. A song titled <Hanyangga> was written in the 19th Century to clearly depict the fun of Pungryu. The flute has the dance and Haegeum scratches with a pine resin. / Janggo is tightened to make big sounds. / The good sounds of the winds and strings mesmerize the body and mind. / The songs of Eobusa, Sangsabyeolgok, Hwanggyetaryeong, Maehwataryeong. / The songs of Japga and Sijo are pleasing to the ears. / Dancers are wearing towels around the heads. / The Musan fairy comes to join the Janyeongsan Ilchum Dance.’