14.210 Wake Spread

Cycle 14 – Item 210

3 (Thu) August 2023

Wake Spread


at Samsung Seoul Hospital Funeral Home

-Ilwon, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W

The father of HJ, one of W’s best friends from high school, passed away yesterday.

In major hospitals, a wake is held in a private room, where family receives visitors, who pay their respects by lighting incense and bowing to a portrait of the deceased (see right); the visitors are escorted to a dining area and served a light meal (see left and below).

At 4 posts on GMTD in the context of a funeral, the score is now tied 2-2 between parents of my friends (see 1.246 Wake Spread; 11.268 Wake Spread) vs parents of W’s friends (see 13.020 Wake Spread).

The closest family and friends tend to come on Day 1, when the wake is busiest; W had already paid her respects yesterday, and accompanied me today, on Day 2, when it was much quieter.

As noted in the prior post (see 13.020 Wake Spread), disposable dining accoutrements like plates and cutlery can be branded, if one of the family members works in a high-end company/agency: HJ works for Financial Supervisory Service (Korea’s counterpart to the American Federal Trade Commission), while her sister works for Samsung Financial Networks.  Obviously, they’re not really trying to advertise, but that’s what it is, right?

I wonder if they had to coordinate: “My company will sponsor the placemats and chopsticks, and your agency will do the cups and bowls.”

As evidenced by the prior posts, the food at such places is almost exactly the same, both in quality and variation: rice + soup (so far, yukgyejang 3 out of 4 times) + steamed pork belly with shrimp paste + assorted jeon + kimchi + banchan + rice cakes + fruit – and quality.

Booze is also served upon request: beer and/or soju.

Back in the day, drinking was an essential part of the process, especially amongst the men – brothers, sons, friends of the deceased – who were expected to stay on overnight to keep the flames going.  But nowadays, visitors tend to be in and out, a trend further encouraged by pandemic restrictions.

I went with the “and” option.

(See also BOOZE)

(See also HANSIK)


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