Jegwan, or ritual official, refers to the officiant of a village ritual or an individual selected to take part in the ritual ceremony.
Jegwan comprises a range of positions according to duty – jeju (head host official), chukkwan (invocation official), heongwan (dedication official) and jipsa (steward)–and their numbers vary according to the size of the village and the ritual. In the case of large-scale Confucian village rites, the duties are further segmented. Jeju is the head official in charge of supervising the ritual, also referred to as dangju, hwaju, or dosin, according to region. Chukkwan reads aloud the ritual prayer (chungmun), while heongwan performs libation on behalf of all the ritual officials.
Increasingly in recent times, heads of local governments or organizations, including mayors, governors and culture center directors take on the role of jegwan. In regions where Confucian-style dong je (village ritual) is held, a meeting of village representatives, called daedonghoe, is convened prior to the ritual to select the officials. A ritual official must be an adult male over 40 years of age who is not in mourning; whose family has not experienced a recent pregnancy or birth; whose wife is not menstruating during the period leading up to the ritual; who lives in a clean surrounding and has not been remarried; and one who is determined as “clean” for the date of the ritual according to the divination process of saenggibokdeok. The selected officials observe taboos (geumgi) during the days that lead up to the ritual. Villages on Jeju Island impose more taboos than others. The officials participate in each ceremonial stage, including cleaning the shrine and preparation of sacrificial foods.