Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Funeral in the Korean Countryside

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After someone dies in the Korean denomination of Buddhism, their spirit lingers for 49 days. After 49 days, a guiding ceremony takes place and the family goes to a temple to pray (for about 4 hours) for a good rebirth into the next life. A member of my Korean family (Suzie's family) passed away 49 days prior to this day and I decided to join the family to the guiding ceremony. The temple chosen was a very very small temple in a countryside village, Bugok, Gyeongsangnamdo.  Although the family resided in Daegu, the brother of the deceased was a monk in Bugok so it was decided that he would lead the ceremony. Outside of the temple, funeral banners of different colors were flying in the wind. The ceremony consisted of the monk doing a lot of chanting, playing music periodically, and his daughter dancing with lotus flowers in front of Buddha while we watched. While his daughter danced, the monk kept telling me to talk photos so before you judge me for this, I was totally told to photograph this. Towards the end, the people attending the funeral went outside the temple and burned the banners in an outdoor fireplace. For more information about this tradition, please click here.

Here are my photos of the temple, the area around, and the funeral dancer.