Ancestor worship

Headword

조상숭배 ( 祖上崇拜 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > 일생의례 > Jerye

Writer ChoiGilsung(崔吉城)
Date of update 2019-02-14

Worship of ancestors by a family, clan, or national community.
Ancestor worship has the socio-religious aspect of clan regulations and the ceremonial aspect of ritual. In study of the succession of memorial rites, the descendants should have religious belief in ancestors and conduct a series of ceremonies to them since the ancestors have descendants from a certain genealogy. Not all of the deceased can be ancestors; human relations are succeeded based on descendants or clans, and the deceased become ancestors when they are honored in certain cere monies. Worshipping ancestors is faith based on the relationship between parents and children, that is, family relations. Ancestors, in the context of worship, are succeeded from great-grandfathers, grandfathers to fathers. From this genealogical perspective, ancestors are worshipped in spirit tablets, are concerned about and take care of the descendants. However, the five latest generations of ancestors or more are generally considered part of the clan but not members of the family. Among these older ancestors, only those whose spirit tablets are kept in the family shrine in perpetuity (bulcheonwi, 不遷位) are subject to rites performed at home.
Ancestor worship in shamanism is contrary to Confucian ancestor worship in many respects. Confucianism is largely focused on worshipping ancestors, but in shamanism ancestor worship is more characteristic of ceremonies for the deceased (sajauirye, 死者儀禮). Ancestral deities are just one kind of god among the many gods in shamanism. In Confucianism, the ancestors are defined in relatively distinctive categories, but not in shamanism. Filial rights and responsibilities are combined with religious ancestor worship in the ancestral memorial rites of Confucianism, while shamanism only focuses on the religious aspect. Confucianism places emphasis on patriarchal, male-centered society, whereas shamanism complements what is disregarded or discriminated in Confucianism and patriarchal society.

Ancestor worship

Ancestor worship
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > 일생의례 > Jerye

Writer ChoiGilsung(崔吉城)
Date of update 2019-02-14

Worship of ancestors by a family, clan, or national community. Ancestor worship has the socio-religious aspect of clan regulations and the ceremonial aspect of ritual. In study of the succession of memorial rites, the descendants should have religious belief in ancestors and conduct a series of ceremonies to them since the ancestors have descendants from a certain genealogy. Not all of the deceased can be ancestors; human relations are succeeded based on descendants or clans, and the deceased become ancestors when they are honored in certain cere monies. Worshipping ancestors is faith based on the relationship between parents and children, that is, family relations. Ancestors, in the context of worship, are succeeded from great-grandfathers, grandfathers to fathers. From this genealogical perspective, ancestors are worshipped in spirit tablets, are concerned about and take care of the descendants. However, the five latest generations of ancestors or more are generally considered part of the clan but not members of the family. Among these older ancestors, only those whose spirit tablets are kept in the family shrine in perpetuity (bulcheonwi, 不遷位) are subject to rites performed at home. Ancestor worship in shamanism is contrary to Confucian ancestor worship in many respects. Confucianism is largely focused on worshipping ancestors, but in shamanism ancestor worship is more characteristic of ceremonies for the deceased (sajauirye, 死者儀禮). Ancestral deities are just one kind of god among the many gods in shamanism. In Confucianism, the ancestors are defined in relatively distinctive categories, but not in shamanism. Filial rights and responsibilities are combined with religious ancestor worship in the ancestral memorial rites of Confucianism, while shamanism only focuses on the religious aspect. Confucianism places emphasis on patriarchal, male-centered society, whereas shamanism complements what is disregarded or discriminated in Confucianism and patriarchal society.