Arrangement of food offerings
The process of arranging jegu (Kor. 제구, Chin. 祭具, ritual implements), jegi (Kor. 제기, Chin. 祭器, ritual vessels), and jesu (Kor. 제수, Chin. 祭需, ritual offerings) to be used during an ancestral rites ceremony.
Jinseol, as preparation for a memorial rite, is the procedure of setting ritual implements, vessels and food offerings upon a table. During the table-setting procedure, spoons and liquor cups are first arranged along with fish, po (Kor. 포, Chin. 脯, dried meat), fruits and vegetables, food items for which it does not matter if they get cold; warm food such as cooked rice, soup, and broth are set after the gangsin (강신, 降神) procedure of invoking the spirit of an ancestor—in which incense is burnt and traditional liquor is poured into mosagi (Kor. 모사기, Chin. 茅沙器, lit. jar of sand) before the first cup of liquor is offered to the deceased ancestor—in order to communicate with the spirit of the ancestor; red meat dishes are placed at the time of heonjak (Kor. 헌작, Chin. 獻爵, the offering of liquor) during a memorial ceremony. In modern times, however, food offerings are all arranged at the same time in some households.
The most important point for consideration during this preparation is to distinguish the right and left sides with the spirit tablet at the center. The right and left sides of a spirit tablet are opposite to those of a living person, so it is essential to distinguish the two sides correctly.
The procedures of the ancestral rites are identical even in different guide books for conducting ceremonies. However, the way the ceremony is carried out and the kinds of ritual foods used vary according to each family. As a result, different books provide different pictures that describe the table settings for memorial services, which are called jinseoldo (진설도, 陳設圖). During the jinseol procedure, in the first row, directly in front of the spirit tablet, liquor cups are arranged with spoons, cooked rice, and soup; broth is placed in the second row; in the third row noodles, meat dishes, dishes made of sliced and grilled meat or vegetables, and fish dishes are placed in order from the leftmost side; pyeon (rice cake) is set farthest to the right; in the fourth row po (dried meat), jang (sauces), vegetables, and hae (pickled fish) are placed in order from the leftmost side, sikhye (sweet rice drink) is placed farthest to the right; and fruits are generally placed in the fifth row.
Although there are certain principles for how to arrange the offerings, every household follows its own rules. This characteristic is called gagarye (가가례, 家家禮), which means that ceremonies are held differently according to family traditions. Such differences are mostly attributable to political affiliation (factions) and the pride of family clans. However, they are also attributable to the fact that the pictures describing the table settings for ancestral rites contained in different ritual books do not provide specific names for individual food offerings.