Friday, September 07, 2007

Jesa



In Korea, most of families perform ancestor-memorial services on the dates when our ancestors passed away. We simply call it 'Jesa(祭祀).' Since my dad is the eldest son, we have a couple of days a year for memorial. The biggest part about the services is preparing food for our ancestors' ghosts and there are certain types of food that must not be missed and also some rules about displaying plates such as red in east and white in west, fish in east and meat in west and so on. In front of the table, all the family members (some families don't allow women to participate) make a bow. After the ceremony, we share the food, which is the best part to me.^.^ Due to my dad who is a fruit seller, we served some exceptional fruits on the left. I hope my ancestors liked them even though they didn't ever know what pineapple, melon and banana are.

10 comments:

Fénix (Bostonscapes DP) said...

Fascinating tradition. I can see why the food is your favorite part! That's a wonderful spread.

oldmanlincoln said...

I remember when I was a little boy during World War II that people talking about some Japanese people who carried on a tradition very much like the one you have described for your family. We were at war with Japan then, and, people made jokes about the dead Japanese people not being able to "eat" the food prepared. Someone spoke up and said, "Can your dead Americans smells the flowers you set out on their tombs?" And that was the end of that conversation but I never did forget it. And then I spent almost 3 years in Japan (1953-1956) and never saw the ceremony once.

I did enjoy your post. Very well done. English is excellent as your wrote it and the photography is illuminated just right.

Fabrizio - ikol22 said...

I can smell fruits and food because your photo is so beautiful but sincereley what I like most is to read your captions so clear and, as today is, so calm and tender.

Sudoksa said...

I already participated this ceremony at parents in low's house. I had to make a bow for the ancestors as well. I confirm that eating fruits was the best moment of the ceremony. ^_^

Youngsin said...

it's interesting~~~ i've never seen anyone who put such fruits like pineapple, melon and banana on the 'Jesa' table. what a lovely idea~! i think your ancestors would love to enjoy them. :)~~ i like this tradition (should i call it a service?) even though my family gave it up for the religious matter after my granfather passed away several years ago...a long story...anyway, it's a great picture~

Youngsin said...

oh...i misspelled.. grandfather not granfather..:)

• Eliane • said...

This is a beautiful tradition and I am glad I learned about it. I like how the fruits are nicely cut. It is quite a feast for the eyes and the palate I am sure.
Great post!

Sunkyoung said...

Fénix - Right. I like fruits and some fries in particular.

Abraham - That was a nice counteraction.:) This ceremony is limited mainly to family and therefore you didn't have a chance to be invited, I suppose. Thanks a lot for your compliment.

Fabrizio - It is your comment that is tender.;)

Eric - How was your experience in jesa? I bet you liked it a lot and your ancestors-in-law were also glad to see you.

Youngsin - I respect each religion's discipline but at the same time I think 'jesa' is a good tradition to keep regardless of a certain type of religion. I'm sorry to hear your family does no longer do jesa, but you must have a different way to appreciate your ancestors.:)

Eliane - You know why we cut off the top parts of fruits? To help the ghosts taste them.^-^

Neva said...

What a lovely tradition....it is only for immediate family? inlaws as well? the food looks great!---especially the fruit!

Sunkyoung said...

It's only for immediate family and only the eldest son, and his wife, is mainly responsible for the ceremony.