The first time I saw dates and chestnuts being thrown into the Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) skirt, was when my older cousin got married (like twenty something years ago). He and his then new bride just came back from their honeymoon and stopped by our house to do their formal bow greetings to my parents. The newlyweds usually go around doing this to all of the adults in the family. After they bowed, I saw my mom throwing a handful of stuff at them, more specifically directed at her. I remember thinking…wtf? Is my mom pissed off about something? Does she not like this new addition to the family? And right after the throw session, the words that followed indicated what it was really about. She said something in the likes of telling them to have a wonderful life and bear beautiful sons and daughters.
Fast forward a couple of decades later and my parents are throwing dates and chestnuts at their own children, my brother and new sister in law. Maybe our generation is a little more Americanized than they were. The new bride and groom did not visit the grown ups wearing Hanboks. Instead, my mom gave my sister in law a towel to catch them in lol. Well, I wasn’t able to be there to watch. But that is what I heard.
And then, there is the ebaji eumsik (eumsik means “food” in Korean). It is the gift of food that the bride’s family presents to the new in laws, a gesture of asking them to take good care of their daughter.
The other boxes were filled with fish, like these croakers.
And it was a lot. I am not sure if it is customary to share what was given as the ebaji eumsik, but my mom also gave some to our aunts and uncles. Here are some images of items that are commonly given as ebaji eumsik gifts.
I was discussing ebaji eumsik with my aunt. She was telling me that ebaji eumsik is often things you don’t even want to eat. I jokingly said, “Why couldn’t they send something like chocolate and wine so that I’ll want to have some too?” She just laughed and said “because it’s a gift for the elders.”