After solemnly reading their wills, seven perfectly healthy university students climb into caskets in a dimly lit hall.
"I want to give all of you one more day to live, but it’s time to be placed into coffins," a man in a black suit says in a resounding voice. "I hope your tired flesh and bodies will be peacefully put to rest."
Workers nail the coffins shut, then sprinkle dirt on top as the lights are switched off and a dirge is played. Muffled sobs can be heard from some of the coffins. About 15 minutes later, they are opened and the five men and two women are "reborn."
The mock funeral, which aims to get participants to map out a better future by reflecting on their past, is part of a new trend in South Korea called "well-dying." The fad is an extension of "well-being," an English phrase adopted into Korean to describe a growing interest in leading healthier, happier lives.
Experts see the well-being and well-dying trend as a sign that South Koreans have grown affluent enough to be able to consider quality-of-life issues. But some dismiss services such as the fake funerals as moneymaking ventures.
Korea Life Consulting Co., which staged the mock funeral for the students, charges up to $325 per customer.