By Tingyu Chen Catherine
A man and a woman wearing traditional Korean dress wait, looking nervous, at the shrine of Mangyeongdae, the house where the Great Leader Kim Il-sung was supposedly born.
At the countdown, the couple bow in unison to the small straw house as a camera man films everything.
In Pyongyang, newly married couples visit places like Mangyeongdae, the Korean War museum and Mansudae Hill, with huge bronze statues of the former leaders on their wedding day. If they can afford it, a cameraman follows them to take photos.
Like this couple, the bride wears the vibrantly coloured traditional dress, called the choson-ot in the North and hanbok in the South, while the man typically wears a suit or solider’s uniform.
By bowing, they show admiration of their former leader. “It’s a tradition,”said one North Korean tour guide. “Every new couple does it.”
North Koreans regard marriage as a passage into adulthood. The majority of women are married by age 29. By age 34, only four percent of women are unmarried, the Population Reference Bureau reports.
Weddings in North Korea host family members, friends and neighbours, usually starting at noon and lasting until evening, the guide said.
“The most common wedding presents in North Korea include cash, rice cookers, mirrors, plates or any other items for the household. But one thing similar between the two Koreas is that the groom is expected to buy the house and the bride to buy things to fill the house,” a North Korean defector reported.