8 (Wed) September 2010
at Chungnam National University Hospital
with my friend and others
When a person dies in Korea, here’s how the post-mortem procedure works, typically. The very same day, the deceased is taken to a funeral parlor, usually in the basement of a large hospital, where the family will hold a nonstop wake for three days, greeting mourners who arrive at their convenience, individually, and at all hours. Mourners, after paying their respects, and usually giving the family some money – ranging from 20,000 won to 1,000,000 and up – are provided food and drinks in an adjacent cafeteria/lounge. The food and drinks are fairly predictable, rice and soup and various sides, with soft drinks or beer or soju. Friends of the sons of the deceased often stick around to provide moral support, run errands, etc, playing cards and drinking to keep themselves awake though the vigil. On the morning of the third day, the deceased is interred, usually in a mountainside cemetery, only the closest relatives in attendance, the friends of the sons acting as pallbearers. This morning, the father of one of my best friends suddenly passed away. So there I was.
(For more details about the food, see WHAT)
(For more details about the venue, see WHERE IN KOREA)