Osaekcheon, meaning five-colored fabric and comprised of the colors red, green, blue, yellow and white, is worshipped in Korean folk religion as a sacred entity or offered in rituals as sacrifice.
Five-colored ribbons are used as offerings for the village guardian deity Seonang; or as banners tied to bamboo staffs for the wind god ritual yeongdeunggosa or for worshipping the boat guardian deity Baeseonang; or for wiping the body of the patient in healing rituals (byeonggut).
Osaekcheon is offered to the village guardian deity Seonang as part of the village ritual seonangje or as part of a private ritual, by hanging or wrapping the fivecolor ribbons on or around a stone stack or a tree that is worshipped as the village guardian deity. This is called “dressing the village guardian.”
In Gangwon Province, five-colored ribbons are tied to trees as part of sanmegi, or mountain-feeding ritual, to “dress the ancestor god Josang.” In worship rituals for boat god Baeseonang, five-colored banners on bamboo staffs are erected on boats and five-colored ribbons are also offered on the ritual table along with the other sacrifices.
Five-colored banners are also used in the wind god ritual yeongdeunggosa, erected in a corner of the kitchen. This banner is called yeongdeungot, or dress for the wind god, and is considered a sacred entity that embodies Grandmother Yeongdeung.
In byeonggut (illness ritual), the process for washing away evil spirits involves the five-color fabric, which the sorcerer cuts with the divine knife (sinkal), and wipes the body of the patient with.