Top searches


Earthenware Jar

Danji is an earthenware jar that is worshipped as a sacred entity enshringing a household god, or as the deity itself. These jars are small and round, bulging around the center, and their names vary according to the enshrined deity. Daegamdanji is the sacred entity for Daegamsin (State Official God), who oversees a family’s material fortune. This jar is usually enshrined in the grain shed, but sometimes in a corner of the inner chamber, the open hall, the kitchen, or outdoors in some cases. The

Korean Folk Beliefs


Stone Fight

Seokjeon (Kor. 석전, Chin. 石戰, lit. stone fight) was a team game in which two opposing teams threw stones at each other. Prior to the game the villagers divided into two groups and aligned themselves on either side of a street in such a way that the teams faced each other at a distance of several hundred feet. The group whose members retreated first during the fight lost the game. Seokjeon is also known as pyeonjeon (Kor. 편전, Chin. 便戰, 邊戰, lit. team battle), seokjeon nori (Kor. 석전놀이, Chin. 石戰戱, li

Korean Seasonal Customs


Bride’s post-wedding journey to the groom’s home

Bride’s journey from her maiden home to the groom’s home, where she will spend the rest of her life, after marriage. The time of a bride’s departure for the groom’s home after marriage varies greatly. Some newly married women spent a year at home before going to live with her in-laws for the rest of her life (which is called muk-sinhaeng or haemugi), while others spend a month (dalmugi) or three days (samil-sinhaeng). When the bride moves to the groom’s home the same day as the wedding it is cal

Korean Rites of Passage


Brother Sister Pagoda

This legend narrates the story of Nammaetap (Brother Sister Pagoda), erected to commemorate a Buddhist monk and a maiden who became sworn siblings and pursued religious discipline until they died on the very same day. According to oral transmission, the protagonist of this legend is Monk Sangwon of late Silla. Sangwon was engaged in religious discipline in a tent put up near the current location of Nammaetap when he happened to meet a maiden, together with whom he practiced religious devotion an

Korean Folk Literature


Between the Old and New

Singugan (Kor. 신구간, Chin. 新舊間, lit. between the old and new) is the approximately one-week long period from the fifth day after the solar term Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, Great Cold) to the third day before the solar term Ipchun (Kor. 입춘, Chin. 立春, Beginning of Spring). On Jeju Island, this is believed to be the only time when one can move or repair one’s house without any harmful consequences. According to folk belief, during this period between Daehan, the last seasonal term of an old year, and

Korean Seasonal Customs


Lantern Festival

Gwandeung nori (Kor. 관등놀이, Chin. 觀燈-) refers collectively to all festive events, games, and performances involving lanterns held in celebration of Shakyamuni’s Birthday in traditional Korea. The historical origins of gwandeung nori can be found in Palgwanhoe (Kor. 팔관회, Chin. 八關會, lit. Festival of the Eight Vows) or Jeongwol Yeondeunghoe (Kor. 정월연등회, Chin. 正月燃燈會, Lantern Festival of the First Lunar Month) of the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392). Introduced from China, lantern festivals were slowly integ

Korean Seasonal Customs


Serpent Cave of Gimnyeong

The legend “Gimnyeongsagul, ” about the cave Sagul in the village of East Gimnyeong in Gujwa, Jeju Island, narrates the story of Seo Ryeon, a judge during the reign of King Jungjong of Joseon, who slayed a giant serpent that lived in the cave. To the east of Gimnyeong Village on Jeju Island was a huge cave in which lived a giant snake and the cave was called Baemgul, or Sagul, meaning Serpent Cave. Each year, the villagers held a grand ritual (keungut), offering a maiden to the snake as a sacrif

Korean Folk Literature