Village Ritual of Eastern Coastal Region(東海岸別神-)

Headword

동해안별신굿 ( 東海岸別神- , Donghaean Byeolsingut )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs

Writer HwangRusi(黃縷詩)

Donghaean Byeolsingut (Kor. 동해안별신굿, Chin. 東海岸別神) is a large-scale village ritual held in coastal communities of eastern Korea. Byeolsingut (Kor. 별신굿, Chin. 別神-, village ritual) in this area are referred to as belsin (Kor. 벨신), belsun (Kor. 벨순), byeolson (Kor. 별손), baesaengi (Kor. 배생이) or baetseon (Kor. 뱃선). A hereditary shaman (from a multi-generational family of shamans) presides over this ritual which constitutes a form of prayer for an easier livelihood. In farming communities, this ritual symbolizes the wishes for better crop yields, and in fishing communities, a larger catch of fish. Byeolsingut can also take place in marketplaces; in such cases it is called nanjanggut (Kor. 난장굿) and is supposed to help business thrive. In general, any byeolsingut involves setting up a special market (nanjang, Kor. 난장), and a rite for this temporary market is incorporated as part of the big ritual. Depending on the village, byeolsingut may be performed every year, once every three years, or once in ten years. The venue of the ritual and the month in which it is held are fixed, but the exact date of the ceremony is decided upon each time through a consultation with an almanac or a fortune-teller choosing a day that is considered auspicious.

Byeolsingut starts with the purification of the site of the rite, usually near the sea, and then with the invocation of the gods. These two steps are known as bujeonggut (Kor. 부정굿) and cheonjwagut (Kor. 청좌굿), and are followed by the reception of golmaegi (Kor. 골매기, lit. village guardian deity). Daenaerim (Kor. 대내림) is the lowering of the pole (known as golmaegidae, Kor. 골매기대) in which the golmaegi may reside. Villagers led by shamans and officiants, carry the golmaegidae to the “grandfather shrine” to welcome golmaegi. They then bring the golmaegidae down and read the god’s wish or message. Afterwards the shamans and villagers proceed to the “grandmother shrine” located near the sea. They invoke the god residing in this shrine and escort her to the site of the byeolsingut. Next, the shamans and representatives of the village hold a worship service in tribute to the three gods, seonghwangjisin (Kor. 성황지신, Chin. 城隍之神), hutojisin (Kor. 후토지신, Chin. 後土之神), and donghaejisin (Kor. 동해지신, Chin. 東海之神). The actual shamanistic ritual begins at the conclusion of this worship service and lasts for two days. In the subsequent dramatic rite known as georigut (Kor. 거리굿), all sacrificial food is cleared from the altar and a male shaman acts as if he were feeding miscellaneous spirits. Three days after the byeolsingut, villagers and presiding officiants gather again in the grandfather shrine to hold another worship service called gosa (Kor. 고사, Chin. 告祀).

The functions of the byeolsingut are to demonstrate the shamanistic community’s faith, give a boost to the local economy through the temporary market places, and provide an outlet to local artistic culture through dance and dramatic performances.

Village Ritual of Eastern Coastal Region

Village Ritual of Eastern Coastal Region
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs

Writer HwangRusi(黃縷詩)

Donghaean Byeolsingut (Kor. 동해안별신굿, Chin. 東海岸別神) is a large-scale village ritual held in coastal communities of eastern Korea. Byeolsingut (Kor. 별신굿, Chin. 別神-, village ritual) in this area are referred to as belsin (Kor. 벨신), belsun (Kor. 벨순), byeolson (Kor. 별손), baesaengi (Kor. 배생이) or baetseon (Kor. 뱃선). A hereditary shaman (from a multi-generational family of shamans) presides over this ritual which constitutes a form of prayer for an easier livelihood. In farming communities, this ritual symbolizes the wishes for better crop yields, and in fishing communities, a larger catch of fish. Byeolsingut can also take place in marketplaces; in such cases it is called nanjanggut (Kor. 난장굿) and is supposed to help business thrive. In general, any byeolsingut involves setting up a special market (nanjang, Kor. 난장), and a rite for this temporary market is incorporated as part of the big ritual. Depending on the village, byeolsingut may be performed every year, once every three years, or once in ten years. The venue of the ritual and the month in which it is held are fixed, but the exact date of the ceremony is decided upon each time through a consultation with an almanac or a fortune-teller choosing a day that is considered auspicious. Byeolsingut starts with the purification of the site of the rite, usually near the sea, and then with the invocation of the gods. These two steps are known as bujeonggut (Kor. 부정굿) and cheonjwagut (Kor. 청좌굿), and are followed by the reception of golmaegi (Kor. 골매기, lit. village guardian deity). Daenaerim (Kor. 대내림) is the lowering of the pole (known as golmaegidae, Kor. 골매기대) in which the golmaegi may reside. Villagers led by shamans and officiants, carry the golmaegidae to the “grandfather shrine” to welcome golmaegi. They then bring the golmaegidae down and read the god’s wish or message. Afterwards the shamans and villagers proceed to the “grandmother shrine” located near the sea. They invoke the god residing in this shrine and escort her to the site of the byeolsingut. Next, the shamans and representatives of the village hold a worship service in tribute to the three gods, seonghwangjisin (Kor. 성황지신, Chin. 城隍之神), hutojisin (Kor. 후토지신, Chin. 後土之神), and donghaejisin (Kor. 동해지신, Chin. 東海之神). The actual shamanistic ritual begins at the conclusion of this worship service and lasts for two days. In the subsequent dramatic rite known as georigut (Kor. 거리굿), all sacrificial food is cleared from the altar and a male shaman acts as if he were feeding miscellaneous spirits. Three days after the byeolsingut, villagers and presiding officiants gather again in the grandfather shrine to hold another worship service called gosa (Kor. 고사, Chin. 告祀). The functions of the byeolsingut are to demonstrate the shamanistic community’s faith, give a boost to the local economy through the temporary market places, and provide an outlet to local artistic culture through dance and dramatic performances.