Rite for ancestors honored in perpetuity(不遷位祭祀)

Rite for ancestors honored in perpetuity

Headword

불천위제사 ( 不遷位祭祀 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Jerye

Writer KimMiyoung(金美榮)

Annaul memorial rites held in perpetuity for an ancestor under the permission of the state in reognition of that ancestor’s achievements or distinguished service to the country.

It was necessary for a family head to continue to keep the spirit tablet of his third great grandfather or beyond in the family shrine if that ancestor had performed meritorious service for the state or was famed for great academic achievements, and to hold annual memorial rites in his honor regardless of the tradition of chinjin (Kor. 친진, Chin. 親盡, lit. end of the immediate line of kinship, that is, the four latest generations of ancestors, to be honored in memorial rites). The term bulcheonwijesa refers to the memorial rites held for such an ancestor, while the term bulcheonwi (Kor. 불천위, Chin. 不遷位, lit. immovable ancestral tablet) refers to the spirit tablet of that ancestor.

The third great grandfather of a family head whose spirit tablet was recognized as bulcheonwi was given special attention and placed in a separate shrine The bulcheonwi ancestors were given special attention and their spirit tablets were placed in a separate shrine called byeolmyo (Kor. 별묘, Chin. 別廟, shrine storing the spirit tablets of ancestors that are no longer kept in the family shrine proper). For families not able to afford a separate shrine, the bulcheonwi continued to be kept in the family shrine but received special treatment. The bulcheonwijesa is, strictly speaking, a kind of gijesa (Kor. 기제사, Chin. 忌祭祀, memorial rite for ancestors on their death anniversary). It was held on a grander scale, however, and in a stricter manner because it tended to attract wider attention from the community. One of the most significant features of the bulcheonwijesa is the abundance of food offered to the ancestral spirits. The food offerings were more diverse than usual and piled up in higher mounds. What made the event even more special was the offering of broth and fresh meat. In general, only one or three bowls of broth were offered in an ordinary ancestral rite, but five bowls in the bulcheonwijesa as a sign of acknowledgement of the greatness of that particular ancestor.

Bulcheonwijesa served to strengthen the identity of participants as members of the same clan through the process of paying homage to a revered ancestor. The rites also had a social role in that they enhanced communication among the local Confucian scholars to address issues that they faced. For some families, the bulcheonwijesa was a good opportunity to display their wealth and influence.

Rite for ancestors honored in perpetuity

Rite for ancestors honored in perpetuity
Headword

불천위제사 ( 不遷位祭祀 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Jerye

Writer KimMiyoung(金美榮)

Annaul memorial rites held in perpetuity for an ancestor under the permission of the state in reognition of that ancestor’s achievements or distinguished service to the country.

It was necessary for a family head to continue to keep the spirit tablet of his third great grandfather or beyond in the family shrine if that ancestor had performed meritorious service for the state or was famed for great academic achievements, and to hold annual memorial rites in his honor regardless of the tradition of chinjin (Kor. 친진, Chin. 親盡, lit. end of the immediate line of kinship, that is, the four latest generations of ancestors, to be honored in memorial rites). The term bulcheonwijesa refers to the memorial rites held for such an ancestor, while the term bulcheonwi (Kor. 불천위, Chin. 不遷位, lit. immovable ancestral tablet) refers to the spirit tablet of that ancestor.

The third great grandfather of a family head whose spirit tablet was recognized as bulcheonwi was given special attention and placed in a separate shrine The bulcheonwi ancestors were given special attention and their spirit tablets were placed in a separate shrine called byeolmyo (Kor. 별묘, Chin. 別廟, shrine storing the spirit tablets of ancestors that are no longer kept in the family shrine proper). For families not able to afford a separate shrine, the bulcheonwi continued to be kept in the family shrine but received special treatment. The bulcheonwijesa is, strictly speaking, a kind of gijesa (Kor. 기제사, Chin. 忌祭祀, memorial rite for ancestors on their death anniversary). It was held on a grander scale, however, and in a stricter manner because it tended to attract wider attention from the community. One of the most significant features of the bulcheonwijesa is the abundance of food offered to the ancestral spirits. The food offerings were more diverse than usual and piled up in higher mounds. What made the event even more special was the offering of broth and fresh meat. In general, only one or three bowls of broth were offered in an ordinary ancestral rite, but five bowls in the bulcheonwijesa as a sign of acknowledgement of the greatness of that particular ancestor.

Bulcheonwijesa served to strengthen the identity of participants as members of the same clan through the process of paying homage to a revered ancestor. The rites also had a social role in that they enhanced communication among the local Confucian scholars to address issues that they faced. For some families, the bulcheonwijesa was a good opportunity to display their wealth and influence.