Day of Watching Small Stars(昴星日)
On the sixth day of the second lunar month, people in traditional Korea used to watch a group of small stars in the western sky and, based on their observations, tried to predict the outcome of harvest for the year ahead. The name of the day, jomsaenginal (Kor. 좀생이날), is a compound of the words jomsaengi (Kor. 좀생이) and nal (Kor.날). The former is used to designate the group of stars in the western sky, and the latter stands for “day.” The term jomsaengi and its variations, jomseong (Kor. 좀성) and jomuseong (Kor. 조무생), stand for “little stars.” Etymologically it is also a combination of jom (Kor. 좀, lit. small), and saengi (Kor. 생이); the latter deriving from seong (Kor. 성, Chin. 星, lit. star).
The two major events of Jomsaenginal were watching the stars and crossing bridges (dari bapki, Kor. 다리밟기). In observing jomsaengi stars, Koreans paid particular attention to their movement and positioning in relation to the moon. If the jomsaengi stars moved in parallel with the moon or kept ahead of it by about a ja (Korean foot, 30.3 cm), it was considered auspicious. However, if the star group led or followed the moon from quite a distance, it was considered an omen for a bad harvest and a famine. The “Yeoryang Sesigi” (Kor. 열양세시기, Chin. 洌陽歲時記, Seasonal Festive Customs in the Capital, 1819), an almanac of seasonal customs, reports that this technique of clairvoyance was very accurate. Depending on the region, the jomsaengi stars were also known under other names such as songjini (Kor. 송진이), songsingi (Kor. 송싱이), jomu singi (Kor. 조무싱이) and songsaengi (Kor. 송생이).