Thousands of People Are Holding Fake Funerals For Themselves

At a South Korean healing center, people are experiencing “death” in simulated funerals to help them appreciate life.

People are holding their own “living funerals” to help them deal with death and improve their lives. 

Since 2012, more than 25,000 people have taken part in living funerals at Hyowon Healing Center in South Korea. The center got the idea for the funerals as a response to South Korea’s suicide rates, which are the highest in the world and nearly double the global average. 

“Some people even come when they have already decided to commit suicide and want to practice the experience of death before actually doing it,” said Jeong Yong-Mun, head of Hyowon Healing Center. “Out of those people, I look out for those people who have thoughts of fear or question whether they can actually go through with suicide, and I reverse their decision. Later, they call me to say thank you. They write reviews and tell their stories. It happens sometimes.”

The simulated funerals are held for multiple people at the same time, who take funeral portraits and write out wills. The participants lie in one of the rows of coffins for 10 minutes, with an instructor guiding them through. 

The ceremony is free and open to anyone. Aside from trying to help people who have thoughts of suicide, the funerals have helped people who are terminally ill and those who want a newfound appreciation for life. 

“People like to think they have forever with their families, and they put off asking for forgiveness or reconciling with estranged family members, but we don't have forever. That's why I think this experience is so important; we can apologize and reconcile sooner and live the rest of our lives happily,” Yong-Mun said.