The Korean Studies Institute said Thursday that holding a ritual for four-generation ancestors is anachronistic, which caused controversy. The institute, located in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, studies the nation’s traditional recorded heritages.
In its study “Misunderstanding and Prejudices on Rituals” on Wednesday, the institute said there was no official record of the ritual for four-generation ancestors even in the Joseon Dynasty. According to the institute, the code of Gyeonggukdaejeon (published in 1484) says bureaucrats over sixth grade hold rituals for three-generation ancestors, bureaucrats below seventh grade for two-generation ancestors, and ordinary people for parents. But Confusion scholars in Joseon, who believed in “Jujagarye,” spread rituals for four-generation ancestors.
“People miss their ancestors in earnest when they have emotional memories with their ancestors,” the institute said. “It is rational to limit the subject of rituals to the ancestors their descendants met in person.” In the past, people lived together with their ancestors for up to three generations due to early marriage, but these days people do not have a chance to see their great-grandparents. The institute claims we don’t need to hold a ritual without a sincere heart.
Many people say in internet communities that they agree with the institute’s study, saying, “I didn’t understand whenever holding a ritual for ancestor even I don’t know even their faces,” and “It is not easy to be a good child to parents.” Some people, however, say we must hold rituals for four-generation ancestors to express our respect.