Goddess of Childbearing(三神)
Samsin is the goddess of childbearing, a shamanic deity and household god that oversees the birth and growth of children.
It is believed that humans are born with the blessing of Samsin, and their lifespan is determined by Chilseong (Seven Stars). Samsin is also called Grandmother Samsin, Grandfather Samsin, Grandmother Sejun or Grandmother Jiang, Jiang and Sejun referring to Jewang and Sejon, respectively, both deities originated from Buddhism and related to the god of childbirth Jeseok. The origin of Samsin is narrated in the shamanic myth “Danggeumaegimuga (Song of Maiden Danggeum), ” also called, “Jeseokbonpuri (Song of the Origin of Jeseok)” or “Song of Sijun (Sejon) Ritual, ” in east coast regions including Gangneung and Uljin.
As a household god, Samsin oversees childbirth, the lifespan of a child and also the health of the entire family, taking on varying roles in the home. Samsin is generally perceived as a goddess and some homes worship one of their deceased female ancestors as Samsin. Worship rituals are held on seasonal holidays including Seol (Lunar New Year), harvest holiday Chuseok, Jeongwoldaeboreum (Great Full Moon) and Dongji (Winter Solstice), or when replacing the grains contained in sacred entities. Rituals are also held on occasions related to childbirth, child illness, or other troubles in the family.
On the day a child is born, a ritual table is prepared for Samsin, comprising sea mustard (miyeok), sea mustard soup, steamed rice and fresh water from the well (jeonghwasu). A Samsin table for a child’s 100th day or first birthday includes skeins of thread (siltarae) and red peppers (gochu). For everyday worship, only a bowl of fresh well water is offered. Additional dishes are offered for seasonal rituals: rice cake soup on Lunar New Year; five-grain rice on Great Full Moon; red bean porridge (patjuk) on Winter Solstice.
Samsin is worshipped in varying forms of sacred entities, including samsindanji (earthenware jar), samsinbagaji (gourd bowl), samsingori (wicker basket), or sometimes not in the form of a specific entity. Sacred entities contain newly harvested grains, mulberry paper or skeins of thread and are sealed before being placed in the inner chamber (anbang) for the woman of the house, on top of the wardrobe or on a separate shelf.