Thursday, January 06, 2011


Tomorrow, January 6, marks the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. I'll be performing a brief jaesa ritual; family will be with me. This year, given the lack of funds and my general ignorance about how to perform the ritual (despite having haphazardly read up on it recently), things are going to be somewhat awkward. Add to that the extreme emotion of the occasion, and it's not going to be pretty. You might say I have a lot of han in my chest that needs-- as the Koreans put it-- un-knotting.

As mentioned, family will be here for the ritual which, based on my memories of jaesa in Seoul, lasts only a few minutes. Most of the jaesa-related time is about the prep and the post-ritual talk: good memories, bad memories, joys, regrets, etc. I don't have the means to construct a proper ritual space; the true jaesa involves an altar laid out in a very specific way (see here and scroll down a bit; for more detail in Korean, see here).

Next year, Mom, I'll do it all better. Better and better every year. The way life should be.



Maven said...

Hoping for peace for you and your family as you approach this anniversary.

Kevin Kim said...

I appreciate it.

Charles said...

Another possible rendering of 풀다 would be to solve or resolve, and it could even be seen as a "letting go" of something.

In that spirit, I hope this ritual leads you along the path of resolution and letting go--not of memories, of course, but of the han itself.

Nathan B. said...

Best of luck with this, Kevin.

JR said...


Thinking of you and your family. I hope that the jaesa goes well, and I know that it will be appreciated and a worthwhile ceremony for you and your family.