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Unfounded rumors lead some N. Koreans to cancel weddings this year

A number of North Korean weddings have recently been delayed or canceled for superstitious reasons, Daily NK has learned.

“A rumor is circulating in Chongjin that couples who get married this year will not enjoy domestic harmony. As a result, several couples who had planned their weddings have postponed them until next year,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, the rumors were spread by ethnic Chinese living in Chongjin.

There is a folk belief in China that people should avoid getting married in a “widow’s year,” which is a year when the beginning of spring comes before the Lunar New Year. Since 2024 is a widow’s year, ethnic Chinese apparently say that couples who marry in that year will suffer marital discord.

According to Chinese folk mythology, a year in which Lichun, the solar term corresponding to the beginning of spring, comes before the Lunar New Year is a year without spring, which symbolizes birth and abundance. Such a year, it is believed, is inappropriate for marriage and childbirth.

These Chinese folk beliefs have given rise to unfounded rumors that couples who marry during this year will experience marital discord, strife, and misfortune until they eventually divorce. Such rumors are currently spreading through the North Korean population.

Another wild rumor that seems to be going around is that it is extremely unlucky and possibly fatal for people born in dragon years to marry in the year of the dragon. This is because dragons are powerful but invisible animals.

As a result of these various rumors, the source said, some North Korean couples are canceling weddings scheduled for this year or postponing them until next year, either on their own or because of pressure from parents on both sides of the family.

Some look to South Korean trends for guidance

But contrary to these rumors, others claim that young couples in South Korea are going ahead with their weddings because no one sees this as a bad year to get married. This has led some people to reinstate canceled weddings.

“Another rumor going around is that people in South Korea are not avoiding marriage this year. This seems to have been spread by remittance brokers who have been talking to [people in] South Korea on the phone. As a result, a couple in Hoeryong who had canceled their wedding ended up rescheduling it,” the source said.

The couple had been torn between the conflicting rumors, but ultimately decided to marry this year as originally planned because they preferred to follow South Korean culture and customs rather than Chinese ones, the source explained.

As this suggests, many North Koreans are susceptible to superstitions, even when making decisions about major life events such as marriage. But North Korean authorities continue to crackdown on these superstitions, which they consider “non-socialist” in nature.

“Maybe it’s because times are really tough right now, but people put a lot of stock in folk beliefs,” the source said.

Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

March 15, 2024 at 05:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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