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Jesa (, ) is a ceremony commonly practiced in
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
. Jesa functions as a
memorial A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person or a historical, tragic event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or works of art such a ...
to the ancestors of the participants. Jesa are usually held on the anniversary of the ancestor's death. The majority of Catholics,
Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitu ...

Buddhist
s and nonbelievers practice ancestral rites, although Protestants do not. The Catholic ban on ancestral rituals was lifted in 1939, when
Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XII ( it, Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (; 2 March 18769 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion C ...
formally recognized ancestral rites as a civil practice (see
Chinese Rites controversy The Chinese Rites controversy () was a dispute among Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the l ...
). Many Korean Christians, particularly
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
s, no longer practice this rite.


Kinds of ancestor rituals

There are several kinds of ancestor rituals such as ''gijesa'' (기제사, 忌祭祀), ''charye'' (차례, 茶禮), ''seongmyo'' (성묘, 省墓), and ''myosa'' (묘사, 墓祀). Gijesa is a memorial service which is held on the day of the ancestor's death every year. Gijesa is performed until upwards of five generations of ancestors in the eldest descendant's house. Memorial services that are performed on Chuseok or New Year's Day are called "charye". On April 5 and before Chuseok, Koreans visit the tombs of their ancestors and trim the grass off the tombs. Then, they offer food, fruits, and wine, and finally make bows in front of the tombs. Memorial services that are performed in front of tombs are called "seongmyo". Finally Myosa are performed at the tomb site in the lunar month of October to conduct in memory of old ancestors (five or more generations). Ancestral rites are typically divided into 3 categories: #''Charye'' (차례, 茶禮) – tea rites held 4 times a year on major holidays (
Korean New Year Korean New Year () is a festival and national holiday commemorating the first day of the Korean calendar. It is one of the most important traditional Korean holidays. The celebration usually lasts three days: the day before Korean New Year, Kor ...

Korean New Year
,
Chuseok ''Chuseok'' (; ), literally "Autumn eve", also known as ''hangawi'' (Hangul The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul (Hangeul), .Hangul may also be written as following South Korea's Revised Romanization of Korean, standard Romanization. ...
) #''Gije'' (기제, 忌祭, also called ''gijesa'') – household rites held the night before or morning of an ancestor's death anniversary (기일, 忌日). #''Sije'' (시제, 時祭; also called 사시제 or 四時祭) – seasonal rites held for ancestors who are 5 or more generations removed (typically performed annually on the tenth lunar month)


Performance

To perform ancestor rituals, the family at the eldest son's house prepare many kinds of food such as
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from Fermentation in winemaking, fermented grapes. Yeast in winemaking, Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide, releasing heat in the process. Different ...

wine
, taro soup,
beef Beef is the culinary nameCulinary names, menu names, or kitchen names are names of foods used in the preparation or selling of food, as opposed to their names in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating pl ...

beef
,
fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class , with over 95 ...

fish
, three different colored
vegetables Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruit In ...

vegetables
, many kinds of
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
s, and
rice cake A rice cake may be any kind of food item made from rice that has been shaped, condensed, or otherwise combined into a single object. A wide variety of rice cakes exist in many different cultures in which rice is eaten and are particularly preval ...

rice cake
or songpyon, particularly those that were favored by the deceased. The '' shinwi'' (신위, 神位) or memorial tablet, which symbolizes the spiritual presence of the ancestor, is placed at the center of the table. In modern days, the daughter or younger son of the family may perform these rites. After midnight or in the evening before an ancestor's death anniversary, the descendants set the shrine, with a paper screen facing north and food laid out on a lacquer table as follows: rice, meat, and white fruits on the west, soup, fish, and red fruits on the east, with fruits on the first row, meat and fish on the second, vegetables on the third, and cooked rice and soup on the last. The rice bowls and individual offerings to the male ancestors are placed to the west, and those of females to the east (고서비동, 考西妣東). Two candles are also laid on both ends of the table, and an incense holder is placed in the middle. In front of the shrine, they set up written prayer, if the family does not own a memorial tablet (신위). A typical rite is generally performed following this sequence: #''Kangshin'' (강신, ) – Several ritual greetings call the spirits down then follow. #''Choheon'' (초헌, , "initial offering") – The eldest male descendant makes the first offering of
rice wine Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage An alcoholic drink is a drink that contains ethanol, a type of alcohol produced by Ethanol fermentation, fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar. The consumption of alcohol plays an impor ...
, followed by his wife. At the conclusion of the first ritual offering, the eldest son would show his respects by performing a ritual bow twice. The wife bows four times. #''Aheon'' (아헌, , "secondary offering") – The second eldest male descendant (typically the next eldest sons or sons-in law) makes an offering of liquor as well. #''Jongheon'' (종헌, , "final offering") – The third eldest male descendant (typically the next eldest sons or sons-in law) makes an offering of liquor as well. Offerings are continued to be made until no high-ranking male descendants are left. #''Sapsi'' (삽시, , "spoon insertion") – The main course is served by the eldest male descendant, to the memorial tablet, by sticking a spoon into the middle of the rice bowl. #''Yushik'' (유식, , "urged meal") – The ancestors receive the offerings and partake in the meal. To do so, participants leave the room, called ''hapmun'' (합문, 闔門). Afterward, in ''gyemun'' (계문, 啓門) – participants return to the room, after a few minutes. This is signaled by the eldest male descendant clearing his throat twice. #''Heonda'' (헌다, , "tea offering") – Tea, brewed from roasted rice is offered to the ancestors. #''Cheolsang'' (철상, , "removal of table") – All the attendants at the ceremony bow twice and the spirits are sent off until the next year. The table with the food and wine offerings is then cleared and the written prayer recited earlier on during the ceremony is set a fire. #''Eumbok'' (음복, , "drink blessings") – Participants divide the sacrificial offerings and partake in the feast. Consuming the ritual food and wine is considered to be an integral part of the ceremony, as it symbolizes the receiving of the blessings bestowed upon the family. The altar food may be distributed to neighbors and friends in a Buddhist rite called ''shishik'', which is a form of merit-making that, along with
sutra Sutra ( sa, सूत्र, translit=sūtra, translit-std=IAST, translation=string, threadMonier Williams, ''Sanskrit English Dictionary'', Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Build ...
reading and intoning of Buddha's teachings, expedities the deceased spirit's entry into
Sukhavati ''Sukhāvatī'', or the Western Paradise, refers to the western pure land of Amitābha in Mahayana Buddhism Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna is ...
.


Modern ancestor rituals

Ancestor worship has significantly changed in recent years. These days it is common to hold ancestor rituals up to only two generations of ancestors, and in some cases, people only hold rituals for their dead parents. In addition, more people are holding rituals in the evening, not after midnight. People can also perform ancestor rituals in a younger son's house. Today, in most Korean families, ancestor rituals still remain an important part of their culture and they are faithfully observed. These ancestor rituals, in spite of revised form, continue to play an important part in modern Korean society, which testifies to their inherent importance in the lives of Koreans.


Heotjesatbap

In
Andong Andong () is a in , and the capital of . It is the largest city in the northern part of the province with a population of 167,821 as of October 2010. The flows through the city. Andong is a market centre for the surrounding agricultural areas. ...

Andong
during the
Joseon Dynasty Joseon (also transcribed as Chosŏn, ko, 대조선국; 大朝鮮國, ) was a Korean dynastic kingdom that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was the last dynastic kingdom of Korea. It was founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 and repl ...
, it was common for jesa foods to be eaten rather than used in the ceremony. Such meals were called ''
heotjesatbap ''Heotjesatbap'' (, also spelled ''heotjesabap''), a traditional Korean cuisine, Korean dish, is a variety of ''bibimbap'', served with soy sauce (''ganjang'') instead of the ''gochujang'' (hot pepper paste) that is more commonly used. ''Heotjesaba ...
'' or "fake jesa food." The most common dish was a special type of
bibimbap Bibimbap ( , from Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Chosŏn'gŭl **Korean dial ...

bibimbap
mixed with
soy sauce Soy sauce (also called simply soy in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. C ...

soy sauce
(ganjang) instead of the more commonly used hot pepper paste
gochujang Gochujang (, from Korean: , ) or red chili paste is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment Image:Salt, sugar and pepper shakers.jpg, Salt, black pepper, pepper, and sugar are commonly placed on Western restaurant tables. A condiment i ...
. They were a common late-night snack for
yangban The ''Yangban'' (), were part of the Korean ruling class, traditional ruling class or gentry of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The ''yangban'' were mainly composed of highly educated civil servants and military officers—landed or ...
scholars known as
Seonbi Seonbi or sŏnbi were virtuous scholars during the Goryeo and Joseon periods of Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been Division of Korea, divided into the two parts which soon becam ...
, and many restaurants in Andong still serve heotjesatbap today.


See also

* Merit-making *
Chinese ancestral worship Chinese ancestor worship or Chinese ancestor veneration, also called the Chinese patriarchal religion, is an aspect of the Chinese traditional religion which revolves around the ritual celebration of the deified ancestors and tutelary deities ...
*
Ancestral tablet A spirit tablet, memorial tablet, or ancestral tablet, is a placardA placard is a notice installed in a public place, like a small :wikt:card, card, Signage, sign, or :wikt:plaque, plaque. It can be attached to or hung from a vehicle or building ...
*
Death anniversary A death anniversary (or deathday) is the anniversary of the death of a person. It is the opposite of birthday. It is a custom in several Asian cultures, including Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Az ...
* Jangnye *
Chinese Rites Controversy The Chinese Rites controversy () was a dispute among Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the l ...
*
ParentaliaIn ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman K ...
, similar rites in ancient Rome *
Veneration of the dead The veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as havi ...


References


External links

{{Commons Korean Confucianism Observances honoring the dead