The funeral ceremony was very moving. I'm sure this has been answered before, but can anyone explain the significance of the mourning clothes that are so often worn at funerals?
I mean the tan gown with a rope belt, and the miter-like headpiece also trimmed with a heavy rope.
Are these made of traditional sack-cloth?
As you guys already know, Confucianism widely and deeply prevailed in Korea during the Chosun dynasty, and until now the tradition of Confucianism so deeply affects daily lives of most Korean people no matter whether they are Christian or Buddhist that Korea is sometimes called the only Confucian country in the world. And one of the basic principles and virtues of Confucianism was filial piety. According the principle of filial piety, those whose parents died were ethical prisoners convicted of failing to have their parents enjoy good health and live longer. The same principle applies to the deaths of uncles, aunts, brothers, spouses, and so on.
Yes, the mourning-clothes are made of sack-cloth, and the rope belts and rope head bands are made from rice straw. The low-quality cloth and rope underlies the basic idea that the mourner is a convict dressed in prisoner's uniform and bound up with a policeman's rope.
¡é Four 'convicts' receive a caller for condolence. (www.topianet.co.kr)
Last Edit: Oct 15, 2008 1:38:15 GMT -5 by Candylover
I haven't been able to get this out of my head since it was posted. Thanks as usual, candylover, for the great information. But it's been pulling me in different directions.
One of the things that I've found very moving about these historical series is the willingness of nearly every character to take responsibility for failures or problems--even if the character had little or nothing to do with the failure or problem happening. Things like the physician who can't cure malaria and then begs the king for death. Or when a prince walks out of the palace and a eunuch says "all is my failure" for not being able to control him, like he's supposed to be able to order a prince around. I'm guessing that this was deeply entrenched in the culture and mind-set (maybe due to Confucianism?), but whatever, it's something we've lost in today's world. You look around today and everybody always wants to find a scapegoat and blame somebody else when something goes wrong. If only more people would have the cojones to stand up and accept responsibility.
But having said that, the idea that you must have committed ethical failings because a parent died, wow. Your parents could live to be 100 and have healthful, happy lives, and you've still failed them when they die? Boy, that's a high bar to set. I'm certainly not judging anybody or trying to criticize; all I'm saying is that it really stuck with me because it seems like a very high standard and an awfully tough thing to have to bear.
I wonder if that kind of thing is what fosters the notion of accepting responsibility for problems. If anybody has anything else to add to candylover's great post, I'd sure appreciate your sharing it because the whole thing fascinates me.