SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — On Lunar New Year’s day, Koreans have family gatherings to conduct charye, rites held in memory of their ancestors, and share tteokguk, a special soup with rice cakes. However, on February 19 at Gwanghwamun, Seoul, two fathers prepared their special table of rites in memory of their children, not their ancestors.
Lee Jong-chul and Oh Byung-hwan are two fathers who lost their children in the Sewol Ferry accident on April 16, 2014. They have been protesting at Gwanghwamun Square, pushing for the enactment of safety laws designed to prevent of tragic accidents like the ferry sinking.
Lee and Oh, with the help of several volunteers, prepared a ritual table full of dishes that their children favored, and shared tteokguk, which Koreans eat for good luck and to signify the passing of another year, with citizens around the protest camp.
On this February 19, the families of 304 victims of the Sewol Ferry incident passed their Lunar New year’s day without their loved ones.
The Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination (SADD), a support group for Korea’s disabled, also conducted a charye ceremony in memory of twelve individuals who passed away as the result of holes in the social safety net for disabled citizens, on February 19 in front of the house of the Minister of Health and Welfare.
By J. W. Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)