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Koreans are popular worldwide trendsetters, thanks to the advent of Kpop and the ubiquity of Korean beauty products and treatments. Whatever’s currently the rage in South Korea, you can bet that you know someone who’s dying to try it. However, we found this one Korean trend might take that previous line a little too seriously.
Currently gaining popularity in Seoul, South Korea is a different type of mental health ‘healing’ – free funeral services for the living. #yikes
Rest assured that no one dies in the process.
According to The Star, more than 25,000 people joined in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center, Seoul to simulate their own deaths.
A 75-year-old participant, Cho Jae-Hee said that “Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” which she experienced when she joined a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare centre.
The activity has gained attention from people of all ages from teens to retirees. Should you wish to join in, expect yourself to wear burial clothes, take funeral portraits, write your last will, and lie in a closed coffin for around 10 minutes.
In an interview, university student Choi Jin-kyu said that the 10 minutes he spent in the coffin made him realise he had been living a stressful life trying to compete with people when it was actually unnecessary.
“It is important to learn and prepare for death even at a young age,” said Professor Yu Eun-sil, a doctor at Asan Medical Center’s pathology department.
The head of funeral company Hyowon, Jeong Yong-mun, said that they started simulating death to help people appreciate their lives, seek forgiveness and reconcile with their family and friends. He also mentioned that it was heartbreaking that people would usually reconcile during a relative’s funeral after such a long time when they could’ve done it sooner.
“We don’t have forever,”
“That’s why I think this experience is so important – we can apologise and reconcile sooner and live the rest of our lives happily.”
He even claims that they have managed to prevent people from committing suicide.
“I picked out those people who have asked themselves whether … they can actually commit suicide, and I reversed their decision,” Jeong said.
Another participant, Choi, admits that the personal value message hit him deeply. Wiping away the tears, he said;
“I want to let people know that they matter, and that someone else would be so sad if they were gone,”
“Happiness is in the present.”
Apparently, South Korea’s suicide rate doubled the global average of suicide in 2016, at the rate of 20.2 per 100,000 residents, as reported by the World Health Organization.
The best thing about this experience is that people appreciate their lives better once they are revived from ‘death’. Would you give it a shot, or is this too pantang for you?
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