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설날아침에 조상신(祖上神)들의 넋두리

이상섭 경북도립대학교 명예교수 l 기사입력 2024-02-12

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▲필자/이상섭 경북도립대학교 명예교수.  ©브레이크뉴스

설 연휴를 하루 앞둔 8일 오전, 동네 헬스장찜질방에서의 일이다. 여성들끼리 설 이야기 중에 이번 설엔 ‘가족끼리 해외여행을 간다’는 사람, ‘지차(之次)라 시댁에 안 간다’는 사람, ‘기제사만 지나고 명절차례는 생략했다’는 사람에다, ‘집에서 차례를 지낸다’는 사람은 반 남짓에 별말이 없었다. 

 

각자 사정이 있을 터이기에 누구든 추호도 탓하고 싶지는 않다. 단지 국민의 55%나 되는 2850만 명이 천리 길을 마다 않고 귀향하는 것과 오버랩 될 뿐이다. 하기야 설 연휴에 100만이나 해외여행을 가는 시절이기에 더하다. 

 

차례를 마친 후 대문에서 조상님을 배웅하고 나니 오지랖 넓게도 별 생각이 다 든다. 물론 혼자만의 헛된 생각이고 우스갯소리다. 이미 도처에 짝 퍼진 공공연한 사실의 재현이니 오해가 없기를 바란다.

 

조상신들이 설날에 잘 잡수시려고 며칠을 굶고 이날만을 기다렸건만, 막상 설인데도 쫄쫄 굶었다는 가상의 넋두리를 모은 픽션이다. 

 

# 나는 애들이 하와이의 무슨 호텔에서 차례를 지낸다기에 살아생전엔 제주도도 못가본 처지라 신나게 미국으로 갔소. 패키지여행으로 왔는지 한국에서 온 神들도 많았소. 후손들은 별도의 내 지방(종이위패)도 없이 합동으로 절을 했소. 음식이라고는 전부 코쟁이들 먹는 빵조각뿐이고, 사람에 치여 아무것도 못 얻어먹고 그냥 왔다오.

 

# 그건 약과요. 나는 잘난 후손들이 인터넷인가 뭔가에서 차례를 지낸다기에 생전처음 PC방을 찾아갔는데, 음식은 제법 먹음직스럽게 보였소. 그런데 막상음식을 먹으려니 날더러 회원가입 후 로그인을 하라는데, 내가 글을 못 배운 까막눈이라 눈물을 머금고 빈 입으로 그냥 돌아 왔다오. 

 

# 허허 그래도 나보다는 낫소. 나는 예전처럼 8시 반에 아들집에 찾아갔지요. 그런데 대문이 잠겨있기에 옆집에 물어보니, 처갓집에 갈 때 차가 막힐까봐 새벽에 대충 차례를 지내고 일찍 나갔다고 합디다. 물 한 모금 얼굴한번 못보고 그냥 왔다오. 

 

# 가만히 듣다보니 당신들보다는 내가 기중(其中)낫소. 예전보다는 못해도 차례 상을 받기는 받았소. 그런데 택배음식이 온지가 좀 되었는지 상했고, 이상해서 한 입도 못 먹고 밤 두개만 집어서 그냥 왔소. 밥은 굶었어도 자식들 얼굴은 실컷 보고 왔다오. 

 

# 나는 하도 남세스러워서 꾹 참았소. 애들 집엘 갔는데 작년가을에 죽은 애완용강아지 쫑과 함께 차례 상을 받았소. 쫑 납돌당도 나보다 고급이요. 새로 들어온 개새끼들이 내 음식에다 혀를 대고 빨고 난리도 아니었소. 배는 고파도 토할 것만 같아 아무것도 못 먹고 그냥 왔다오. 

 

# 이 말은 절대로 소문내지마소. 그래도 당신들은 복 받은 혼신(魂神)들이라 많이 부럽소. 나는 기일은 물론이고 설이나 추석에는 갈 곳이 없소. 애들이 오래전에 다 없애버렸소. 그래서 명절이 되면 더 외롭고 불쌍한 신이라오.(모두 눈물이 글썽~)

 

설날에 비록 굶었지만 어느 조상신도 자식들 흉도 원망도 하지 않았다. “힘들면 기제사와 차례는 안 차려도 된다. 부디 너희들 잘되기만을 바란다”는 한없는 후손사랑에 가슴이 짠해지는 필자의 허상(虛想)이었다. 모두들 조상의 은공에 답하는 그런 명절이 되었으면 해서다.

 

종교적인 이유나 조상숭배에 차이는 있겠으나, 옛 부터‘조상숭상과 부모섬김은 자신을 위해서 행하는 사람의 도리’라고 했다. 아무리 세상이 바뀌어도 지킬 것은 지키고 사는 그런 사회가 쭉 이어지길 희망해본다. 

 

솔직히 말해 장자인 내가 가고나면 우리 부모님 차례는 아들내외가 잘 모시겠지만 괜히 걱정이 된다. 나는 아무래도 괜찮다. 그러나 고생만하시다가 일찍 가셨기에 너무도 사무치는 분들이기에 해보는 당부다. 

 

일주일 전부터 차례준비로 허리가 끊어지게 아프다던 집사람과 마루에 앉아 전(煎)을 다 붙이고 녹초가 된 며느리에게 늦게나마 미안함을 전한다. 아무래도 명절은 일의 분담만이 길인 것 같다. sslee1300@gmail.com

 

*아래는 위 기사를 '구글 번역'으로 번역한 영문 기사의 [전문]입니다. '구글번역'은 이해도 높이기를 위해 노력하고 있습니다. 영문 번역에 오류가 있을 수 있음을 전제로 합니다.<*The following is [the full text] of the English article translated by 'Google Translate'. 'Google Translate' is working hard to improve understanding. It is assumed that there may be errors in the English translation.>

 

Complaints of ancestral spirits on New Year's Day morning

-Lee Sang-seop, professor emeritus at Gyeongbuk Provincial University

 

 This happened at a local gym sauna on the morning of the 8th, a day before the Lunar New Year holiday. Among the Lunar New Year stories among women, for this Lunar New Year, there are those who say, 'I'm going on a trip abroad with my family,' those who say, 'I'm not going to my in-laws because it's my second birthday,' and those who say, 'I skipped the holiday ancestral rites after just passing the memorial service.' About half of the people who said they were ‘performing the ancestral rites’ didn’t say anything.

I don't want to blame anyone, because everyone has their own circumstances. It only overlaps with the fact that 28.5 million people, or 55% of the population, returned home after traveling a thousand miles. It's even worse because it's a time when as many as 1 million people go on overseas trips during the Lunar New Year holiday.

After completing the ancestral rites and seeing off my ancestors at the main gate, I can't help but think about all sorts of things. Of course, this is just a vain thought and a joke. I hope there are no misunderstandings as this is a reproduction of a public fact that has already spread everywhere.

It is a fiction that collects imaginary complaints that ancestral spirits starved for several days and waited for this day to eat well on New Year's Day, but they were starving even though it was actually Lunar New Year.

# I had never been to Jeju Island before, so I excitedly went to the United States because the kids were holding their wedding ceremony at a hotel in Hawaii. There were many people from Korea who probably came on package tours. Descendants bowed together without a separate memorial tablet (paper memorial tablet). The only food I got was pieces of bread that nosy people eat, and I came here without being able to get anything because I was hit by people.

# That's medicine. I went to a PC room for the first time in my life because I heard that the prosperous descendants were having fun on the Internet or something, and the food looked quite appetizing. However, when I was about to eat the food, they told me to sign up and log in, but since I was illiterate and blind, I just came back with tears in my eyes and an empty mouth.

# Hehe, still better than me. I went to my son’s house at 8:30 like before. However, since the gate was locked, I asked my neighbor, and he said that he was worried about traffic jams when he went to his in-laws' house, so he left early after making a quick turn in the early morning. I just came here without even taking a sip of water.

# After listening carefully, I realized that I am better than you. Even though I wasn't as good as before, I still received the award. However, the delivery food seemed to have been spoiled a while ago, and it was weird, so I couldn't even eat a single bite, so I just picked up two chestnuts and came back. Even though I was starving, I was able to see the faces of my children.

# I was so selfish that I held back. I went to my children's house and received the ceremonial award along with my pet dog, Jjong, who died last fall. Jjong Napdoldang is also more advanced than me. It wasn't like the new bastards were making a fuss by sticking their tongues in my food and sucking on it. Even though I was hungry, I felt like I was going to throw up, so I couldn't eat anything and just came back.

# Please never spread this word. Still, I envy you so much because you are blessed souls. I have no place to go on Lunar New Year's Day or Chuseok, let alone the anniversary of my death. The kids got rid of them all a long time ago. So, during the holidays, God becomes more lonely and pitiful. (Everyone has tears in their eyes~)

Even though they starved on New Year's Day, none of the ancestors complained or complained about their children. “If you’re having a hard time, you don’t have to do the ancestral rites and ancestral rites. “I hope you all do well” was an illusion of the author, who was heartbroken by the boundless love for his descendants. I want this to be a holiday where everyone repays the kindness of their ancestors.

Although there may be differences in religious reasons or ancestor worship, it has been said since ancient times that ‘respecting ancestors and serving parents are the duties of a person who does it for his own sake.’ No matter how much the world changes, I hope that a society where people live and protect what they protect will continue.

To be honest, after I, the eldest son, am gone, my son and his wife will take care of my parents' turn, but I am worried for no reason. I guess it's okay. However, I urge you to give it a try because these people are so heartbreaking that they went through a hard time and left early.

I belatedly apologize to my wife, who said her back had been hurting from preparing for the ancestral rites a week ago, and to my daughter-in-law, who was exhausted after sitting on the floor and putting on pancakes. It seems that sharing the work during the holidays is the only way. sslee1300@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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