3.264 Veneration of the Dead

Cycle 3 – Item 264

25 (Tue) September 2012

Veneration of the Dead


by Mom

at Pungsan Cemetery Park

-Bonghan, Byeongcheon, Dongnam, Cheonan, Chuncheongnam, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ, Mom + Dad, paternal relatives

In Korea, cemeteries are traditionally found on low mountains – sanso (산소) = mountain (san) + place (so) = cemetery – which are carved into wide flat steps where the graves are placed.
Before I got into camping and learned to pitch a tarp, we would hope for an overcast day or otherwise endure the hot sun.
Our family plot, where my paternal grandparents were laid to rest, with spaces for my parents and my uncle and aunt, is located in Cheonan, about 120 km from central Seoul.
We visit the cemetery every year, sometime around the annual Chuseok (thanksgiving) holiday.

Fancier gravesites include an altar for offering foods and drinks to the spirits of the deceased, same ritual as the jesa (see generally 1.021 Jesa Spread), though typically a bit smaller in scale.  Descendants take turns to light incense, pour a cup of rice wine, and place spoons and chopsticks on various dishes – some people take this literally to mean that the spirits in fact eat and drink the offerings.  The spread is essentially the same as a typical Korean at-home meal, including rice + soup + meats + banchan + fruits for dessert (see generally ATKAHM) – but no kimchi, though I don’t know why.

In between turns, every bows.

After the ancestors have had their fill, the food and drink are removed from the alter and brought to the table, so that the living may finish the leftovers.

To supplement the meal, my mother also prepares dishes that aren’t offered to the dead, though I don’t know why.

Additional banchan.
Bulgogi with Songi.



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