When I befriended foreign friends, learn about their culture, we've been exchanging a lot information on their traditions on wedding, birthday, child birth, etc but we rarely or never talk about funeral traditions. Since, I never thought how important it would be, until yesterday. Learning about other country's tradition and culture should not just be about all the happy and merry things, but it might also be about sad and gloomy things like how and what you should do during a funeral.
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I never thought that I would need to attend one during my stay in Korea, well, not until yesterday. The first thing that you would have to take notes is don't wear bright color outfit, which I believe most countries don't wear bright colors outfit to attend a funeral. It will be best if you can wear a black and white outfit like how you've seen in Korean Dramas, but if you don't have one, just make sure you wear something not too bright.
Once you reach the place, you will be able to see a shoe shelves, which normally located on your left hand side, take off your shoes and put it on the shelves, then go to the other side where you can see a desk where you can write down your names and put in the money in a white colored envelop. If you don't bring one, some of the place do prepare the envelop right on the desk, so you won't have to worry about the envelop. Korean called this 부조금 (Bujogeum).
And the next thing might be the most important part itself when you attend a Korean Funeral, is how you pay respect to the late and their family. First of all, you'll get into room where there's a table and pictures of the late, then you can choose either you're going to use a chrysanthemum flower or joss stick. Put the white flower on the top of the desk then move backwards behind the floor pillow.
Then, you have to bow twice. It's not a 90 degrees bow, but you've to basically bow down to the floor as per shown in the picture.
After bowing twice, then you've to face the family members and bow for 1 last time. Then, they will take you to the dining place where they will serve you with food and beverages, where you can have your meal while having a little talk with others.
Last but not least to simplify what you'd have to do, you can refer to the graphics below.
I wish that you won't have to attend any of funerals during your stay in Korea, since however it's still a sad things to do. But, just in case you'd have to attend one, I hope this article will simply help you to get the least grip on what to do.
@ Seoucial / Inggrid Ng