Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Death anniversary

A death anniversary is a custom observed in several Asian cultures including China, India, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as in other nations with significant overseas , , , and populations. Like a birthday, it is celebrated each year, but instead of on the date of birth of the individual being celebrated, it is celebrated on the day on which a family member or other significant individual . There are also similar memorial services that are held at different intervals, such as every week.

Although primarily a manifestation of ancestor worship, the tradition has also been associated with Confucianism and Buddhism or Hinduism .


In China, a death anniversary is called ''jìchén'' or ''jìrì'' . This type of ceremony dates back thousands of years in China and historically involved making sacrifices to the spirits of one's ancestors.


In India, a death anniversary is known as ''shraadh''. The first death anniversary is called a ''barsy''.


In Japan, a death anniversary is called ''meinichi'' , ''kishin'' , or ''kijitsu'' or ''kinichi'' . Monthly observances of a death are known as ''tsuki meinichi'' , while annual anniversaries are known as ''shōtsuki meinichi'' .


In Korea, ancestor worship ceremonies are referred to by the generic term ''jerye'' . Notable examples of ''jerye'' include ''Munmyo jerye'' and ''Jongmyo jerye'', which are performed periodically each year for venerated scholars and kings of ancient times, respectively.

The ceremony held on the anniversary of a family member's death is called ''gije'' , and is celebrated by families as a private ceremony. For such occasions, the women of the family traditionally prepare an elaborate set of dishes, including ''tteok'', '''', '''', and so forth.


In Vietnam, a death anniversary is called '''', ''ngày gi?'' , ''?ám gi?'' , or ''b?a gi?'' . It is a festive occasion, at which members of an extended family gather together. Female family members traditionally spend the entire day cooking an elaborate banquet in honor of the deceased individual, which will then be enjoyed by all the family members. In addition, sticks of incense are burned in honor and commemoration of the deceased person. It is not unusual for a family to celebrate several ''gi?'' per year, so the ceremony serves as a time for families to reunite, much like the Vietnamese new year, T?t. The rituals are the responsibility of whoever inherits the ancestral estates, typically the deceased's most senior descendant.

Although a ''gi?'' is usually a private ceremony attended only by family members , some are commemorated by large segments of the population. The commemoration of the in , the legendary founders of the first Vietnamese kingdom in Vietnam's remote past, and of the Trung Sisters are widely participated. In March 2007 ''Gi? t? Hùng V??ng'' became a . As in all traditional commemorations, the Chinese calendar is used.

In Vietnamese culture, certain special, traditional dishes are only prepared for death anniversary banquets. In addition, favorite foods of the deceased person being honored are also prepared. Chicken, a particularly prized meat in Vietnam, is often cooked as well. In Central Vietnam, small stuffed glutinous rice balls wrapped in leaves called ''bánh ít'' are such a dish. Because the preparation of so many complex dishes is complex and time-consuming, some families purchase or hire caterers to prepare certain dishes.

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