Dokkaebigut is a ritual for chasing away dokkaebi, or goblins, believed to be the causes of fire or contagious diseases.
Alternate versions of the term can be used depending on ritual procedure, including dokkaebije or dokkaebigosa. In traditional communities, dokkaebi are creatures with both negative and positive characteristics. They are often perceived as culprits of fire or as spirits that bring smallpox, who must be eradicated through shamanic rituals to keep the village safe. On the other hand, they are also seen as deities that oversee fishing, as observed in big catch rituals on the western or southern coasts or islands, which are generally private rituals but sometimes staged as part of the village ritual dangje or the boat rite baegosa.
In most cases dokkaebi-related rituals do not involve specific sacred entities, but some peculiar types of entities are worshipped, including Kim Cheomji (Official Kim), which are a pair of earthenware jars draped with conical straw bundles (teojutgari), featured in the fire-prevention rituals of Gyeonggi Province on the sixteenth of the first lunar month.
In communities that view dokkaebi as smallpox spirits, ritual procedures involve a procession of women playing percussion instruments or banging on household objects to chase away the goblins, visiting each household and each corner of the village and ending the parade with rituals at the village entrance and in the guardian mountain. These rituals, generally officiated by women, are carried out in an informal atmosphere. Household objects used for the ritual include various metal kitchenware like cauldron lids.
While in inland regions dokkaebi are considered objects of eradication, in fishing communities they are worshipped as spirits that promise a big catch, and dokkaebibul, or goblin fire, served as a means of gauging the year’s catch for the local fishermen.