South Korean Funeral Traditions

by M-Rebeiro

Three days after the corpse is buried, food is placed on the grave as an offering and is done once a year afterwards.

Koreans view death in a way that their funeral practices expresses very well. Succumbing to illness or natural causes outside of the home is said to cause the spirit to wander, so assisting the dying back to their home was encouraged. While traditionally Koreans adhered to strict Confucian practices for diving the genders, it’s less prevalent in modern South Korea.

It is customary for those present during the passing of the departed to wail for the dead. At the funeral, one is expected to wear simple clothing. Obituary notices are typically sent out via newspaper and mailed invitations but in the past were delivered by messenger only to be spoken aloud outside the house since it was considered bad luck to bring obituary notices into a house.

During preparation of the body, the body is washed and groomed. Money and rice is placed in the mouth to ease the journey into the next life. Graves are packed tightly with dirt for three days, then they are visited by the family. The family places a food offering in the grave, then packs more dirt. A year later they visit the grave again and bring more food and leave it at the foot of the gravestone.

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