Welcoming the Moon(迎月)
Dalmaji (Kor. 달맞이, lit. welcoming the moon) was one of the principal customs associated with Jeongwol Daeboreum (Kor. 정월 대보름, Great Full Moon Festival). Its purpose was to pray for good fortune in the year ahead. Other names for the custom include yeongwol (Kor. 영월, Chin. 迎月, lit. waiting for the moon rise), mangwol (Kor. 망월, Chin. 望月, lit. watching the moon), dalbogi (Kor. 달보기, lit. watching the moon), mangwore jeolhagi (Kor. 망월에 절하기, lit. bowing to the moon) and manguri (Kor. 망우리, lit. full moon). The custom was widely observed across the Korean peninsula.
Villagers lit a torch late at night and climbed a nearby hill to wait for the moon to rise. When the moon appeared, they rested the torch on the ground and joined hands to pray for their wishes to come true. Observing the custom required a great deal of effort since people often had to climb long distances through dark mountain forests on cold winter nights to see the moon. It was also important to get to the top ahead of the others since wishes that were made sooner were believed to have a greater chance of coming true. Once the moon rose, everyone started praying silently: farmers asked for an abundant crop yield, young maidens and men asked to meet their ideal match, and mothers with no sons begged for a male child.
In the agrarian society, the moon embodied the female principle governing Earth. Frequently represented as a goddess, the moon symbolized fertility and productivity essential for the success of farming. Dalmaji, therefore, is a custom rooted in the primitive worship of the moon, as a protector of farming, production, and reproduction.