Moon House Burning(烧月亮屋)
Daljiptaeugi is a ritual for praying for a good harvest and peace in the village by setting on fire the moon house, made of bamboo and pine branches, as the moon rises on Jeongwoldaeboreum (Great Full Moon), on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.
Building a moon house (daljip) is an act of enshrining the moon deity, in the same vein as building a shrine to worship a village deity. Setting fire to the moon house is viewed as an attempt at maximizing the life force of all beings of the universe through the union of the yin energy of the moon and the yang energy of fire. The first full moon of the year is believed to possess the highest level of magical powers, which has resulted in a large number of seasonal customs associated with the occasion.
At around 2 or 3 in the afternoon on Great Full Moon Day as farmers’ music is played, villagers set out to collect bamboo and pine branches (solgaji) at the instruction of the leader. Upon their return, the moon house is constructed on a field that overlooks the village. Bamboo stalks that still have their leaves intact are used to erect a conical thatched-straw frame of adult height, with a door that opens to the east. The frame is filled with straw brought from villagers’ homes, and pine branches are added as a top layer, after which prayers are offered and the villagers play music as they circle the moon house.
When the moon rises over the mountains, the villagers shout, “The moon is rising!” and the village leader sets fire inside and on the surface of the moon house. Along with the roar of the crowd, hollering, “The moon has risen! Light the fire!” the thundering sound of the percussion music, of the bamboo and pine branches cracking and burning, shakes the heaven and the earth.
It is believed that flames that soar higher than those from the neighboring village bring a good harvest, so competition can be fierce. The sound of bamboo cracking is believed to chase away bad fortune, so villagers try to add as many bamboo stalks as possible. Prospects for a good harvest are also determined by the direction in which the moon house collapses after burning.
Moon house burning is a symbolic ritual for praying for a good harvest and also a ritual for preventing bad fortune by cleansing impurities with fire.