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LeePilyoung

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LeePilyoung

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Rite for Tutelary Spirit of Eunsan

Eunsan Byeolsinje is a traditional communal rite observed in Buyeo, South Chungcheong Province, designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 9. Some trace the origins of this village ritual to the rise of the town of Eunsan as a center of transport and commerce during the Joseon dynasty, or to a series of wars that led to the sacrifice of myriad soldiers whose soul needed appeasing. It appears that the ritual’s procedure began from dongje (village tutelary ritual), comprising a ritua

Korean Folk Beliefs

Evil Force

Sal is a term used for vile and evil forces that harm people and cause destruction. Sal can also refer to severe damage caused by evil spirits, including diseases, accidents, conflicts or severed ties, which can result in great unhappiness. In other words, sal can be understood as a folk concept for explaining terrible misfortunes that are impossible for humans to solve or comprehend. Every human is born with a certain curse, brought on by evil force which can be interpreted through folk divinat

Korean Folk Beliefs

Lit. reception of the Goddess of Childbearing

Samsinbatgi means an activity performed as a prayer for a child in the paternal line, by bringing “vitality of the nature” into “vitality of the family.” It is a practice to receive Samsin, or the Goddess of Childbearing, from the nature to the family again. Samsin refers to the Goddess of Childbearing, who blesses the family with children and oversees their birth and health. There is only one Samsin for each family, overseeing one lineage of a family name. A daughter-in-law, who will continue t

Korean Rites of Passage

Childbirth rituals

Rituals practiced before and after the birth of a child in order to pray for conception or to raise the new-born baby without any trouble. Childbirth rituals, or chulsaenguirye, concentrate on achieving two goals: one is to deliver the child without any difficulty and the other to raise the new-born baby without any trouble until its dol (Kor. 돌, lit. first birthday). Chulsaenguirye can be divided into the following five stages: ① Gija (Kor. 기자, Chin. 祈子, lit. supplication for a son): This ritua

Korean Rites of Passage

Disposing the placenta

Folk practice of disposing the placenta, the source of life providing nutrients for the fetus, and the umbilical cord, a lifeline for the fetus, after childbirth in accordance to set formalities. The placenta is the source of life that connects the mother and the fetus during gestation, providing oxygen and nutrients to the developing fetus. Although it was no longer useful when cut off after delivery, the placenta was viewed as an object of respect due to its mysterious and thankful role in nur

Korean Rites of Passage

Stone Stacks Ritual

Tapje, or stone stacks ritual, is a communal rite held around Seol (Lunar New Year) after building stone stacks at the village entrance as its main guardian deity or as a low shrine deity. The stacks, built with natural gathered stones, are generally conical in shape, filled inside with small stones, clay or cement, and the gaps between the stones sealed to keep them in place. Stone stacks are also erected in locations where supplementation (bibo) is needed for specific geographical features tha

Korean Folk Beliefs

Rites for God of Agriculture

Nongsinje (Kor. 농신제, Chin. 農神祭, lit. rite for agricultural god) are folk rites in which farmers go to the fields with food offerings and pray to the god of agriculture for a good harvest in the upcoming season. Such rites take place on festival days during the period of intensive growth and maturing of crops, i.e. on Yudu (Kor. 유두, Chin. 流頭, the fifteenth of the sixth lunar month), Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months), and Chilseok (Kor. 칠석, Chin.

Korean Seasonal Customs

Goddess of Childbearing

Samsin refers to the deity who, according to Korean folk belief, presides over all affairs related to pregnancy and childbirth. Samsin is a compound of the Korean word sam and the Chinese character sin (神) for deity or spirit. The Korean word sam refers to “life” or “giving birth to life.” According to experts, it originated from the old Korean verb “samgida, ” meaning “to be formed, ” and the noun “sam, ” meaning “placenta.” Hence Samsin is understood as the deity of life, or one delivering lif

Korean Rites of Passage

Weaving Games

Gilssam nori (Kor. 길쌈놀이, lit. weaving game) refers to different kinds of entertainment enjoyed by Korean women in the past during weaving competitions. These competitions began early in the seventh lunar month and ended on Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month). The custom is also known as duresam (Kor. 두레삼), gilssam dure (Kor. 길쌈두레), gongdong jeongma (Kor. 공동적마, Chin. 共同績麻), and deulge (Kor. 들게), and included telling tales, dancing, singing, and p

Korean Seasonal Customs

Village Parade

Maeuldolgi, or village parade, is a ritual that takes place prior to or following the village tutelary festival dongje, a procession around the village participated in by villagers and a farmers’ music troupe to chase away evil spirits and bad fortunes. In the village ritual dangsanje of Jeolla provinces, the village parade takes place prior to the tug-of-war, the villagers carrying the rope on their shoulders or holding torches as they go around the village. In some regions, the parade includes

Korean Folk Beliefs

Weaving Festival of Eight Township in Jeosan, Seochon

Seocheon Jeosan Pareup Gilssam Nori (Kor. 서천저산팔읍길쌈놀이, Chin. 舒川苧山八邑-, lit. weaving game of eight townships in Jeosan, Seocheon) is a tradition of holding competitive weaving games in some areas of Hansan-myeon, Seocheon-gun, South Chungcheong Province. It is related to the tradition of Hansan ramie weaving, and has been reconstructed as a performance that was based on the way the competition was performed in eight communities known as Jeosan pareup (Kor. 저산팔읍, Chin. 苧山八邑, eight townships of Jeosa

Korean Seasonal Customs

Wayfarer Ghost Repelling Ritual

Gaekgwimulligi is a ghost-repelling ritual held at home to heal an urgent symptom or a disease believed to have been caused by a gaekgwi, or wayfarer ghost, who has invaded the household. Gaekgwi is the haunted wandering spirit of one who has met a tragic death; one whose death did not receive a proper funeral; or one without descendants to memorialize him through annual jesa rites. These wayfarer ghosts are caught between the world of the living and that of the dead. Holding a deep grievance ag

Korean Folk Beliefs
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