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01

Rite for Tutelary Spirit of Eunsan

Eunsan Byeolsinje is a traditional communal rite observed in Buyeo, South Chungcheong Province, designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 9. Some trace the origins of this village ritual to the rise of the town of Eunsan as a center of transport and commerce during the Joseon dynasty, or to a series of wars that led to the sacrifice of myriad soldiers whose soul needed appeasing. It appears that the ritual’s procedure began from dongje (village tutelary ritual), comprising a ritua

Korean Folk Beliefs

02

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

03

Mouse Fire Game

Jwibul nori (Kor. 쥐불놀이, lit. mouse fire game) is a game related to the custom of setting fire to the edges of rice paddies and dry farming fields. This game is also referred to as seohwahui (Kor. 서화희, Chin. 鼠火戱) or hunseohwa (Kor. 훈서화, Chin. 燻鼠火), both names meaning “mouse fire merrymaking.” The purpose of setting fire to the field edges is to burn the grass and weeds thereby reducing insect damage to the crops. Following the burning of a stack of pine twigs known as daljip taeugi (Kor. 달집태우기, l

Korean Seasonal Customs

04

Ganggang Sullae Ring Dance

Ganggang sullae (Kor. 강강술래) is a female-centered ring dance performed on the night of Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month). The custom originated in the southwestern part of Korea and is currently observed in most parts of the Korean Peninsula. Arguably the most typical group activity for women, ganggang sullae combines group entertainment with dancing and singing. It is primarily performed outdoors on the night of Chuseok, under the full moon. I

Korean Seasonal Customs

05

Flower Card Game

Hwatu (Kor. 화투, Chin. 花鬪, lit. flower fight) is a game played with a deck of forty-eight cards comprising twelve sets of four cards, each set representing one of the twelve months of the year. Each card has images of flowers or plants associated with the corresponding month on its face. Pine trees are the motif of the January cards; plum flowers, February; cherry blossoms, March; black bush clovers, April; orchids, June; peonies, July; red bush clovers, July; full moon, August; chrysanthemums, S

Korean Seasonal Customs

06

Erecting the Grain Pole

Byeotgaritdae (Kor. 볏가릿대, lit. grain pole) is a long pole with bags containing various grains such as rice, barley, millet and beans attached to its top. It is erected at a well, courtyard, or a cow shed during the Great Full Moon Festival (Jeongwol Daeboreum, Kor. 정월대보름) as a form of prayer for a good harvest. Widely interpreted as a symbol of Ujumok (Kor. 우주목, Chin. 宇宙木, lit. Tree of the Universe), the pole can also be referred to with words of Chinese origin, such as hwagan (Kor, 화간, Chin. 禾竿

Korean Seasonal Customs

07

Paper Flower

Jihwa, or paper flowers, are ornaments used for expressing devotion to the gods in a shamanic ritual. Paper flower ornaments, also called sinmyeongkkot (spirit flower) or muhwa (shamanic flower), are considered sacred, on display for the purpose of entertaining the gods, of creating a venue where the deity will be surrounded by flowers while receiving the ritual, and they come in many different kinds with different uses and meanings. Geolliphwa (collector god flower) is used in bigscale rituals

Korean Folk Beliefs