Smallpox Prevention Ritual
Sonnimgut, literally meaning, “guest ritual, ” is a shamanic ritual segment for worshipping the god responsible for smallpox and measles.
The ritual is also called songut and is practiced around the country in various formats.
Sonnimgut is a prevention ritual closely related to the smallpox send-off ritual mamabaesonggut, the two procedures distinguished by function.
This send-off ritual focuses on appeasing the smallpox deity Mama so that it will go away. It is believed that a generous amount of steamed sorghum or millet offered in a straw basket will satisfy the deity.
The most important part of this ritual is to end it well, by placing the straw basket offering on a tree outside the village or adopting other secret procedures.
Sonnimgut, on the other hand, is a prevention ritual worshipping the deity Sonnim, believed to be a wandering god. The shamanic song performed for this ritual segment includes a passage about a large number of deities that set out from south of the Yangtze River in China and turned back at Amnok River in Uiju, only a few making it to the Korean peninsula, indicating that these gods were wayfarer deities.