Death Anniversaries & Good Fortune: A Korean American Ghost Story

Thousands of miles away from the motherland, in the outer boroughs of New York City, my immigrant family performs a modified jesa every year that fits our evolving family dynamic and belief system.

This article was originally published in Mochi Magazine.

Death Anniversaries & Good Fortune: A Korean American Ghost Story, October 4, 2021


My father has always said I was born with bok. When I was a kid, teachers would often happen to be absent the day I forgot to do my homework or study for a test. When someone pulls out of a coveted parking spot in our busy Queens neighborhood, my partner remarks, “It’s that Sarah Park luck.” And now that I’m nearing my 30s, I look back at the recklessness with which I charged through my youth, and I do marvel at how I managed to walk away with a mild concussion at worst or a broken heart at best. In Western culture, you might say I have a guardian angel, or perhaps more realistically a certain amount of privilege. Nevertheless, my Korean American father insists our ancestors are looking out for me — but only because we conduct the proper death rituals.

Read the rest here.

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