Authors

all : 262

AnHyekyung

2 count

AnHyekyung

2

Ritual for Removing Speck from Eye

Samjapgi is a sorcery ritual for removing a small speck in the eye. In the distant past, eye diseases were common but considered especially mysterious and thus feared. Sam is a traditional term that refers to a tiny white or red speck that has developed on the pupil, and samnun is the eye inflammation caused by this speck, accompanying pain and redness. An alternate term for the ritual for removing this symptom is samnunjapgi. One healing method involved using red beans. At sunrise, a bowl of wa

Korean Folk Beliefs

House Entry Ritual

Iptaekgosa is a ritual held upon moving into a newly constructed home or from one house to another, to pray for peace and prosperity for the family. These house entry rituals, also called jipgosa (house ritual), are observed around the country. Iptaekgosa can be categorized into ritual types and sorcery types. Ritual types can again be grouped into reception rites for the house guardian god Seongju, officiated by a shaman or recitation sorcerer, and house entry rites officiated by the head of th

Korean Folk Beliefs

AnJiwon

2 count

AnJiwon

2

Fund-raising Performance with a Flag

Hogi (Kor. 호기, Chin. 呼旗) is a fund-raising activity carried out by children in anticipation of Shakyamuni’s Birthday, designed to raise money for the Lantern Festival. Days before Shakyamuni’s Birthday, village children would gather to create paper flags and drums made from fish skin. Children beat these drums and marched around the town carrying a long pole with a paper flag at the top at the head of this procession. As they marched, they would loudly solicit donations. Rice and hemp collected

Korean Seasonal Customs

Lantern Ritual

Yeondeunghoe (Kor. 연등회, Chin. 燃燈會) is a tradition related to the celebration of Shakyamuni’s birth and refers to the hanging and lighting of paper lanterns outside homes, in temples and along streets. This practice is widespread in all Buddhist countries. In Buddhism lanterns are an important symbol of Buddha’s wisdom enlightening the world. Lanterns were used to worship Shakyamuni even during his lifetime. The practice of using lanterns in the context of a worship service originates from India

Korean Seasonal Customs

AnSangkyung

2 count

AnSangkyung

2

Recitation of Scriptures

Dokgyeong is the term for the shamanic practice performed by a sorcerer reciting the scriptures of Taoism or Buddhism to pray for the good fortunes of an individual, or peace and prosperity in the family. In Korean folk religion, beopsa are sorcerers who practice divination or officiate dokgyeong. Essential to the practice of dokgyeong, is the study of a vast range of scriptures, including the four major shamanic scriptures Okchugyeong (Scripture of Precious Fundamentals), Cheonjipalyanggyeong (

Korean Folk Beliefs

Sitting Ritual

Anjeungut, or sitting ritual, is a form of shamanic ritual that centers on the practice of dokgyeong, or scripture recitation, by sorceresses or sorcerers. In anjeungut, the sorcerer is in a seated position, reciting the scriptures to his own accompaniment of janggu (hourglass drum), jing (gong), or kkwaenggwari (small gong). This ritual has been preserved mainly in Chungcheong and North Jeolla provinces. In Chungcheong Province, anjeungut involves more than recitation, a complex procedure that

Korean Folk Beliefs

BaeDosik

7 count

BaeDosik

7

Tiger Offers Ride for Dutiful Son

This tale narrates the story of a tiger who, upon being moved by a dutiful son’s filial piety, offers him favors. A long time ago in a village lived a dutiful son who was so poor he could not afford food for his mother, and he had to ask for food from the family he worked for as a farmhand, and ride on the back of a tiger to serve the food to his mother. There was another dutiful son who had to travel far to get medicine for his ailing father and a tiger appeared and let him ride on its back. An

Korean Folk Literature

Tiger That Helped the Widowed Daughter-in-Law

This tale narrates the story of a widowed daughter- in-law who did not remarry despite the urging of her parents and cared for her father-in-law, and a tiger who helped her, moved by her dedication. A long time ago there lived a daughter-in-law who was widowed at a young age. Her parents insisted that she remarry, but she did not comply, and instead devoted herself to the care of her widowed and ill father-in-law. Her parents, tired of waiting for their daughter, one day sent her news that her m

Korean Folk Literature

Village Guardian Post

Jangseung is a wooden or stone figure carved in human form and erected in the entrance of a village, temple or mountain pass to serve as guardian deity. Alternate terms include jangsaeng, beoksu and susalmok, but jangseung is the most common. The practice of erecting these guardian posts goes back to ancient times and many villages held rituals to worship them. While its most important function was to protect the village or temple against diseases, bad fortune, and tiger attacks and to preserve

Korean Folk Beliefs

Yeongsan Wooden Bull Fight

Yeongsan Soemeori Daegi (Kor. 영산쇠머리대기, Chin. 靈山-, lit. Yeongsan wooden bull fight) is a Great Full Moon Festival (fifteenth of the first lunar month) activity of Yeongsan village (Yeongsan-myeon, Changnyeon-gun, South Gyeongsang Province). It is a war game involving the use of a tool known as soemeori (Kor. 쇠머리, lit. ox head). In 1969 Yeongsan Soemeori Daegi was designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 25. On the Great Full Moon Day the people of Yeongsan-myeon divided into two t

Korean Seasonal Customs

Nose Ring for Cows

Soekotture is the term for the wooden ring attached to the nose of a cow, also used as a sorcery tool for keeping out evil spirits. These nose rings are made with tree branches between 2 and 3 centimeters thick, the bark stripped and fastened with rope to be shaped into a ring. Cows are big, powerful animals, but once the nose ring is attached, the pain confines them to a life that is constrained by humans. The nose ring, therefore, was a symbolic tool that connotes eternal confinement, and ther

Korean Folk Beliefs

Rice Tomb

Bammudeom, a term that literally means, “rice tomb, ” refers to the hole for burying the steamed rice (me) that had been offered as sacrifice, a practice observed as part of village tutelary festivals (dongje) in South Gyeongsang Province. Rice tombs are generally located under the village guardian tree (dangsannamu) or a spot considered clean, or under the poles of the four directions in the village. Rice tombs are built in a range of forms, which vary by region: Some in the form of stone stack

Korean Folk Beliefs

Divine Pole

Sindae, literally spirit-receiving pole, is a bamboo pole or rod used in Korean folk religion to receive, or to move, a god, from the sky, from deep inside the mountaiun, or from a shrine. An alternate version of the term is singan, and these poles also serve as markers of prohibited spaces, and include village guardian deity poles (seonangdae), farmings flags (nonggi) and sacred poles (sotdae). Divines poles are generally used for village tutelary rituals (dongje) and also during shamanic ritua

Korean Folk Beliefs

BaeYoungdong

1 count

BaeYoungdong

1

Hoe Washing Festival

Homissisi (Kor. 호미씻이, Chin. 洗鋤宴, 洗鋤會, lit. hoe washing) is a traditional summer festival held in farming communities in the beginning or middle of the seventh lunar month. By this time major activities related to the growth of crops are finished, as it is reflected in the name of the festival: a homi (Kor. 호미, hand hoe) is the main tool for weeding, the last task that farmers need to complete before harvesting in autumn. Thus, Homissisi represents the end of weeding via the act of "washing

Korean Seasonal Customs

BaekMinyoung

2 count

BaekMinyoung

2

Ritual for Goddess of Childbearing

Samsinmosigi is the ritual for worshipping Samsin, the Goddess of Childbearing, who blesses families with children and oversees their birth and health. Households that eagerly await children hold this ritual, especially families with only daughters and no son. Sometimes when a family is experiencing trouble, a shaman or fortuneteller recommends the ritual. Samsin ritual is officiated by the women of the family, including the wife, post-partum mother, or grandmother of a child. Sometimes an elder

Korean Folk Beliefs

Household Deities

Gasin are household deities that are worshipped within a home. In Korean folk religion, household deities reside in various parts of the home and are believed to be responsible for peace and wellbeing in the family, and the health and longevity of its members. Myriad household gods are worshipped, including Seongju (House Guardian God), Teoju (Land Tutelary God), Jowang (Kitchen Deity), Samsin (Goddess of Childbearing), Daegamsin (State Official God), Chilseong (Seven Stars), and Eop (God of Pro

Korean Folk Beliefs

ByunJisun

2 count

ByunJisun

2

Possessing Spirit

Momjusin is the spirit that has descended upon the possessed, the principal agent of the spiritual powers acquired in a state of possession. Unlike other gods and spirits that descend during a ritual and channel words through the shaman, the possessing spirit maintains a continuing relationship with the possessed shaman, worshipped for life in the shaman’s personal shrine. Momjusin can be categorized into spirits connected with the shaman by blood ties and those that are not. The former are spir

Korean Folk Beliefs

Shamanic Fan

Buchae refers to the fan used as a shamanic tool in a ritual. The fan is one of the most important tools, central to the processes of a ritual. In a ritual, the shaman, as an agent of the gods, uses the fan to serve as a medium between the gods and her follower who has commissioned the ritual. When officiating a ritual or when trance channeling, the shaman has in her left hand the rattle and in her right the fan. She uses the fan to hide her face or to accept money. In shamanism, the fan is capa

Korean Folk Beliefs

CheonHyesook

12 count

CheonHyesook

12

Myth of Kim Alji

The myth“ Kimaljisinhwa ”narrates the story of Kim Alji, progenitor of the Kim royal family of the Silla dynasty and the Gyeongju Kim clan. Kim Alji served as Daebo (Great Minister) under King Talhae and was named crown prince but was not enthroned, and his myth has been transmitted as progenitor myth or as part of clan history through genealogical records or family writings of the Gyeongju Kim clan. In the kingdom of Silla, during the reign of King Talhae, Great Minister Hogong (Duke Gourd) was

Korean Folk Literature

Mighty Baby

The legend “Agijangsu” narrates the story of Mighty Baby, who meets a tragic death for being born with extraordinary abilities into a lowly family. It is unclear how far the tale dates back to, but a warrior born with wings under his arms is documented in Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms), from 12th century. A story similar to the Agijangsu legend is also included in the “Ancient Relics of Gangneung” section of Joseoneupji (Village Records of Joseon). The tale was transmitted widely in

Korean Folk Literature

Great Flood

This legend narrates the story of a great flood in ancient times, which drowns the entire world except for a single mountain peak and two siblings, who wed and become the ancestors of mankind. A long, long time ago, a great flood turned the entire world into a vast sea, leaving only a brother and sister on a single mountain peak. When the world was drained of all the water, the siblings came down the mountain, but there was no one left. The siblings, worried that this would be the end of mankind

Korean Folk Literature

Dragon Fight

The legend“ Yongssaum ”narrates the story of a man who was asked by a dragon that lived in a pond to help in a dragon fight, and in return for assisting the dragon’s victory, was given a wide plain. The earliest remaining record of this legend is the“ Tale of Dojo (grandf ather of Joseon’s f ounder Yi Seong-gye), included in Yongbieocheonga (Songs o f Dragons Flying to Heaven). Other versions include the legends of Jeokji and Gonggeomji in Donggukyeojiseungnam ( Augmented Survey of the Geography

Korean Folk Literature

Rich Man Pond

The legend of Jangjamot (Rich Man Pond) narrates the story of a rich man whose house was flooded in water and turned into a pond as a result of his ill treatment of a monk seeking donation, and of the rich man’s daughter-in-law, who turned into a rock for breaking a taboo imposed by the monk. Rich Man Hwang of Gangwon Province, whose family for three generations owned enough land to harvest ten thousand sacks of rice each year, was known for his ill-treatment of monks that came by seeking donati

Korean Folk Literature

Three-Year Mountain Pass

The legend of Samnyeongogae (Three-Year Mountain Pass) narrates the story of a mountain pass that carried a curse that if a traveller stumbled and fell on the pass, the traveller would die within three years. An old man was walking home on Samnyeon- gogae, a pass across a mountain somewhere in Gyeongsang Province, when he fell down. In despair that he would die within three years, the old man called in his children to deliver his will, but his neighbor, who was a doctor, told him that falling do

Korean Folk Literature

Legends of Place Names

This category of legends narrates the origins of the names of villages and the various related place names. A number of place name legends are found in Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms), the earliest among them being the tale about the origins of the name Changwon, now a major city, which came from the fact that Crown Prince Haemyeong, during King Yuri’s reign in Goguryeo, killed himself with a spear, which is chang in Korean. There are also records of villages populated by people known

Korean Folk Literature

Child Selling

Aipalgi, literally meaning, “child selling, ” is a ritual for praying for the longevity of a child believed to possess a short lifespan or bad fortune, by designating a deity or an object from nature as the child’s foster parent. The term is based on the idea that designating a foster parent is an act of selling the child, and variations include jasikpalgi (child selling), suyangbumo samgi (bind as foster parent) and suyangeomeoni samgi (bind as foster mother). The practice was generally observe

Korean Folk Beliefs

Sacred Mother of Mt. Seondo

This myth tells the story of Seondosanseongmo, the goddess of Mt. Seondo in Gyeongju, North Gyeong- sang Province and the mother of Bak Hyeokgeose, the founder and progenitor of the kingdom of Silla. During the reign of King Jinpyeong of Silla, the Sacred Mother of Mt. Seondo appeared in a dream of the Buddhist f emale monk Jihye, and ordered that the main hall at the temple Anheungsa should be repaired using gold buried under her shrine, and Jihye did as instructed. The goddess was a daughter o

Korean Folk Literature

Village Myth

Maeulsinhwa, or village myths, tell the sacred story of a village’s beginnings, as well as the origins of village gods (dangsin) and miracles that demonstrate their divine powers. Village myths are passed down as an integral part of village rituals (dong je), sometimes recited during the rite as in the case of“ Dangbonpuri (Song of the Origin of Village Guardian God) ”from Jeju Island, and they are continuously revised and renewed along with the evolution of the various forms of village god wors

Korean Folk Literature

Grandmother Mago

The myth of Magohalmi tells the story of a giant goddess who created all of nature and its geographical formations of this universe. Giant goddess Magohalmi carried mud in her skirt and created mountains and islands. Her urine and excrement formed hills and rivers. Big rocks in various villages were placed there by Magohalmi’s hands or whips. Magohalmi’s body was so immense that 90, 000 pil of hemp was not enough to clothe her. She was so tall she walked across the seas off the island Wando, and

Korean Folk Literature

Legends of Natural Creation

This category of legends narrates the origins of nature and natural phenomena of the world, including the sun, moon and stars; terrestrial features like mountains, rivers, ponds, rocks and caves; the sea, islands and bays; flora and fauna. It also includes tales of origins of geographical features. Some of the most widely observed narratives of natural creation include those of mountains or islands that floated from one location to another, or of mountains that survived a great flood. There are

Korean Folk Literature

CheonJinki

11 count

CheonJinki

11

Horse Ritual

Maje is a ritual for worshipping the horse or to prevent illness in horses, and is related to the sacred horses enshrined at village shrines as horses ridden by Sansin (Mountain God) or Seonang (Village Guardian Deity). Maje was carried out on various levels, organized by the state, the community or individual households. State-organized horse rituals date back to the kingdom of Unified Silla (676-935), as seen in records of a range of rites including majoje (horse ancestor ritual) for worshippi

Korean Folk Beliefs

Stealing for Fun

Historically, youngsters would steal fruits, vegetables or crops to appease their hunger. Considered a tolerable action in the past as long as their actions did not cause the farmer serious financial damage, this activity is currently regarded as a crime. Referred to as seori (Kor. 서리), this mischievous act was conducted in the summer, as an adventure to get both food and thrills. The main targets were crops, vegetables, and fruits such as wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplant

Korean Seasonal Customs

Minor Cold

The twenty-third of the twenty-four solar terms, Sohan (Kor. 소한, Chin. 小寒, lit. Slight Cold), falls sometime in the twelfth lunar month. It is the first solar term occurring after the Gregorian New Year’s Day and is usually around January fifth. On this day, the sun is at an ecliptic longitude of 285°. In ancient China, the fifteen-day period between Sohan and Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, lit. Great Cold) was divided into three smaller periods of five days each. The first of these periods was char

Korean Seasonal Customs

Cold Dew

Hallo (Kor. 한로, Chin. 寒露, lit. Cold Dew), the seventeenth of the twenty-four solar terms, is marked by a drop in temperature, when dew is on the verge of turning into frost. On the Gregorian calendar, Hallo usually falls on October eighth or ninth, when the sun is at 195° on the ecliptic. On the lunar calendar, Hallo falls in the ninth month. At this time of year, farmers thresh grain and are busy trying to finish all harvest-related tasks before the temperature plummets further. The colors of t

Korean Seasonal Customs

Lesser Cuckoo

There are two narratives related to the bird jeopdong- sae, or the lesser cuckoo, in the Korean oral tradition: One narrates the tragic story of a maiden harassed by her stepmother, who died and became a lesser cuckoo; and the other of a man who became a lesser cuckoo when he was driven to death by his grievance of losing his bride to the king. Jeopdongsae, with its mournful cry, the sound of which is reflected on its name, is featured prominently in traditional verse to capture sentiments of so

Korean Folk Literature

Fishing Picnic

For cheollyeop (Kor. 천렵, Chin. 川獵, lit. stream fishing) people get together to spend all day fishing on a river. This leisure activity, which usually consisted of river bathing, fishing, and cooking fish stew was practiced in the spring and autumn, but was more popular during summer, particularly during the hottest period of Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, Three Dog Days, three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months). On Ganghwa Island, for instance, villagers went to the river with fishi

Korean Seasonal Customs

Origin of Twelve Animal Signs

This legend narrates the origins of sibiji, or the twelve animal signs of the traditional zodiac.rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.and how they were selected and arranged. A long, long time ago, the king of the heavens wished to designate official positions to animals. After considering the selection criteria, he announced that positions would be given to animals arriving first at the celestial gate on the first day of the first lunar month. Upon he

Korean Folk Literature

Legends of Animals and Non-Living Objects

This category of legends narrates stories about real or imaginary animals and obejcts. In Korean culure, animals are portrayed as agents of divinity or sorcery, playing the role of medium between humans and gods; between the world of the living and the underworld; between the self and the universe. Tigers and dragons are the most commonly featured in folk narratives, followed by horses, cows, snakes, chickens, turtles and dogs. These tales explain the origins of an animal’s appearances or traits

Korean Folk Literature

Great Cold

Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, lit. Great Cold) is the last of the twenty-four solar terms. It occurs in the end of the twelfth lunar month and is around January the twentieth on the Gregorian calendar. The sun around this time is situated at an ecliptic longitude of 300°. Winter cold intensifies progressively after Ipdong (Kor. 입동, Chin. 立冬, Onset of Winter), with temperature hitting new lows successively on Soseol (Kor. 소설, Chin. 小雪, First Snow), Daeseol (Kor. 대설, Chin. 大雪, Snow Blast), Dongji (Ko

Korean Seasonal Customs

Banners of the Guardian Gods of the Five Directions

Obangsinjanggi, or the banners of the guardian gods of the five directions, is a set of banners in five colors, used for divination in shamanic rituals. These flags are made with bamboo staffs around 70 centimeters long, some as long as 100 centimeters, the banner with silk or other fabric, sometimes dyed mulberry paper. They are around 70 centimeters in width and 50 centimeters in length. The colors of the banners are associated with the five directions according to traditional cosmology: blue

Korean Folk Beliefs

Twelve Zodiac Days

Sibijiil (Kor. 십이지일, Chin. 十二支日, Twelve Zodiac Days) refers to the first twelve days of the Lunar New Year that are represented by the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, i.e., rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. They can also be called Jeongcho Sibijiil (Kor. 정초십이지일, Chin. 正初十二支日, twelve zodiac days of the beginning of the year) or simply Jimseungnal (Kor. 짐승날, lit. animal days). The zodiac calendar is a separate system that does not correlate to the luna

Korean Seasonal Customs

ChoHeewoong

9 count

ChoHeewoong

9

Pack of Rats Cross the River

“Jwittedogang” is a tale about a pack of rats crossing the river by each grabbing another’s tail, in succession. It is a typical formula tale, found across the world and transmitted since ancient times. The oldest documented version of a Korean formula tale is “Jangdamchwicheo (Long Tale of Acguiring Wife)” in Myeongyeopjihae (Calender Collection of Humor), written by Hong Man-jong (1643-1725). This tale is distinctive in its subject of rats, which provide the basic unit for the counting that ma

Korean Folk Literature

Divination Tale

Jeombokdam, or divination tales, are stories that center on prophecies about the fate of a group or an individual, narrating the process of the realization of the prophecies and the consequences they bring. Fortunetelling originated from the human desire to foresee the unknowable future, and boasts a long history, as seen in the many ancient divination tools uncovered by archaeological excavations. In Joseon, there was a government agency devoted to divination and astronomy, called Gwangsanggam

Korean Folk Literature

Royal Seal Returned

This droll tale narrates the story of a protagonist who by chance finds someone else’s missing belonging or makes an unexpected discovery. A similar narrative is recorded in the 19th- century anthology Dongyahwijip (Collection of Tales from the Eastern Plains) under the title “Jidongjangeunsugigye (Wise Child’s Wondrous Trick of Hiding Silver Vessel).” Oral variations have been observed across Mongolia, China and Japan, with over 100 versions found in Korea alone. A poor man (named Gaeguri, mean

Korean Folk Literature

Tail Chase Tale

“Kkorittagi” is a type of formula tale (hyeong-sikdam) in which a phrase or motif from the preceding paragraph or section of the narrative is repeated over and over in the following sections. “Jibanmunan (Regards f rom Home), ” an example of a tail chase tale, goes as follows: A young man pursuing his studies in Seoul servant was visited by a servant sent from his home in the country. The young man asked the servant“, So have things been well back home?” and the servant replied“, Yes, quite, exc

Korean Folk Literature

Groom Dressed in Bird Feathers

This narrative tells the story of a protagonist who uses a magical costume made of bird feathers to take over the riches or the status of a wealthy or powerful man. The oldest remaining version of this narrative is a 1930s recording of the shamanic song “Irwolnoripunyeom (Song of Sun and Moon)” from Ganggye, North Pyeongan Province. The song tells the myth of Scholar Gungsan, who in an attempt to keep his beautiful bride Maiden Myeongwol contests against the Scholar Bae in flying up to the sky

Korean Folk Literature

Formula Tale

Hyeongsikdam, or formula tale, is a story that relies on a specfic narrative structure. Formula tales boast a long history within the long oral tradition of the art storytelling. For example, the tale “Mole Wedding” dates back to the ancient Indian collection Panchatantra from the 3rd or 4th century and is also found in the 11th-century book Sea of Stories and in Korea, was documented between 17th and 18th centuries in Sunoji (Fifteen- Day Record) by Hong Man-jong. Formula tales do not necessari

Korean Folk Literature

Evil Older Brother, Good Younger Brother

“Akhyeongseonje” narrates the story of the conflict between an evil older brother and a good younger brother. Brotherly love has been one of the basic virtues in human society, along with loyalty between the king and his subjects, filial piety, fidelity between husband and wife, and friendship, and has thus served as an important motif in the oral narrative tradition. There are two types of the evil older brother, good younger brother narratives: The first is “Blind Younger Brother, ” in which t

Korean Folk Literature

Glutton and Envoy

This tale narrates the story of an illiterate glutton who defeats a scholar from China in a contest carried out in sign language. The narrative, documented in the 17th-century collection Eouyadam (Eou’s Unofficial Histories) and the 19th-century Ieonchongnim (Collection of Miscellaneous Secular Tales), is an archetypal story spread across the world in various versions. China sent an envoy to Joseon to examine the country’s talent pool. The court carried out a nation-wide talent search for the oc

Korean Folk Literature

Three Pieces of Straw Rope

This tale narrates the story of man who was considered a lazybones but uses his wit and intelligence to achieve great success. A long time ago, there lived a mother and her lazy son, and the mother kicked him out, giving him nothing but three pieces of straw rope. On the road, the son met an earthenware vendor who needed rope and exchanged his rope for an earthenware water jar. Then he met a maiden who broke her water jar and exchanged his jar with one mal of rice. In a home where he lodged, a r

Korean Folk Literature
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