Assembly of Village Representatives(大同会)
Daedonghoe is a group of village dignitaries and other representatives formed prior to a village tutelary ritual, or dong je, to discuss and decide the details of the ceremonies.
Daedonghoe also refers to the meeting of this group, an important part of the village ritual, usually held on the morning after the ceremonies, with discussions taking place on issues of collective interest or action or social cooperation, regarding all areas of communal life including appointment of community officers, budget and balances, management of common property, facility repairs and farming labor. In recent times these meetings also serve as communication channels for local government policies and instructions.
Proceedings are led by the village head, but in the case of major issues, the counsel of village dignitaries, who are considered unofficial leaders of the community, are sought prior to the discussion at the assembly. While all households are required to attend the meeting, the opinion of the village dignitaries is generally accepted as the consensus in the decisionmaking process.
In traditional villages, daedonghoe was a large and powerful organization but a naturally formed one that did not possess binding powers like an executive body, despite its immense influence and organizing capacity.
Its most important function is to enhance social cooperation among community members through the emphasis of the spirit of mutual assistance. The group is also responsible for providing the foundation for religious ceremonies, by selecting the officials for the village ritual (jegwan). The term daedong, meaning “unity, ” is used for many other related vocabulary like daedongnori (seasonal village customs) and daedonggut(village ritual), as in daedonghoe. In short, daedonghoe is an organization assembled for communal selfmanagement, contributing significantly to the sustenance and development of a village as a political, administrative and social unit.