The commemorative ceremony is one of the most important rites for Korean family. It usually takes 30 mins to an hour, but it depends on family members.
<The order of the ceremonial food>
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We prepare the best food for them because we believe that spirits really come to have the food. There are usually apples, pears, meat, soup, rice, fish, chestnuts and jujubes etc, but it depends on family. One of the funny thing is that after the ceremony, we take a little of every food and take them outside for stranger spirits(??) who don’t have family to have a ceremony for them. Traditionally only men can perform the commemorative ceremony, but my family women also join the ceremony.
There are three kinds of the ceremony.
1. 제사[Jesa] is usually for dead people who were in your family such as great grand parents, grand parents, parents or brother and sister. It is held every year at night on the day when they died, so it is particularly for a person. My family have four ceremonies per year for my great grand parents and grand parents.
2. 차례[Chare] is for ancestors including family members who died, but it is held in the early morning on Seollal and Choosuk which are New year’s day(January 1st of the Lunar Calendar) and Thanksgiving day(August 15th of the Lunar Calendar). This is for thanking to ancestors to let us have a great year and for hoping that they take care of us. The food will be similar to 제사, however we put ‘떡국(rice cake soup)’ on Seollal.
3. 고사[Gosa] is held on the day when people start their business, when they move to a new house, when they buy a new car or when farmers start harvesting. It can be held in the morning, afternoon or night. The food is mostly the same as other ceremony, but there is one more thing which is “PIG HEAD”. In Korea, pigs mean ‘fortune’ or ‘wealth’, so people put a pig head as a sacrificial offering to hope that ancestors protect them from the bad luck and the evil spirit.
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