Village God Myth(堂神話)

Village God Myth

Headword

당신화 ( 堂神話 , Dangsinhwa )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Concept

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

Dangsinhwa refers to the myth of the village god worshipped in the village’s communal rituals.

Also called maeulsinhwa or chollaksinhwa (village myth), they are tales of divine beings and events transmitted over generations in the community. The narrative takes the form of a dialogue with the village god (dangsin), and contributes to the development and reinforcement of the community’s rituals. The divine punishments or powers that manifest as a result of human negligence or dedication to the rituals mentioned in the myths provide legitimacy to the rituals and confirm the sanctity of the gods, thereby enhancing the faith of the villagers. Myriad village gods are worshipped in a community, but the deity featured in the dangsinhwa narrative is generally a human god, categorized into ancestral deity (josangsingyeok); haunted spirit deity (wonhonsingyeok); and the divine mother deity (sinmosingyeok). Ancestral deities can again be divided into village founders (iphyangjo), ancestors who revitalized the declining family (jungsijo) and those who have died without descendants to memorialize them (mujugohon). Haunted spirit deities refer to the deceased who have met unjust and untimely deaths, worshipped by communities to appease their soul and to serve them as village guardians. Divine mother deities are goddesses who are worshipped as mothers of great figures like Sansin (Mountain God) or national progenitors.

While in national foundation epics and other myths the hero exhibits extraordinary powers that land him on the throne, in dangsinhwa, the miraculous powers of the village god continues to develop while serving as evidence of its sanctity and the effectiveness of the rituals. Village god myths, therefore, are openended narratves, continuously shifting and growing.

Village God Myth

Village God Myth
Headword

당신화 ( 堂神話 , Dangsinhwa )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Concept

Writer ChoSunyoung(曺善映)

Dangsinhwa refers to the myth of the village god worshipped in the village’s communal rituals.

Also called maeulsinhwa or chollaksinhwa (village myth), they are tales of divine beings and events transmitted over generations in the community. The narrative takes the form of a dialogue with the village god (dangsin), and contributes to the development and reinforcement of the community’s rituals. The divine punishments or powers that manifest as a result of human negligence or dedication to the rituals mentioned in the myths provide legitimacy to the rituals and confirm the sanctity of the gods, thereby enhancing the faith of the villagers. Myriad village gods are worshipped in a community, but the deity featured in the dangsinhwa narrative is generally a human god, categorized into ancestral deity (josangsingyeok); haunted spirit deity (wonhonsingyeok); and the divine mother deity (sinmosingyeok). Ancestral deities can again be divided into village founders (iphyangjo), ancestors who revitalized the declining family (jungsijo) and those who have died without descendants to memorialize them (mujugohon). Haunted spirit deities refer to the deceased who have met unjust and untimely deaths, worshipped by communities to appease their soul and to serve them as village guardians. Divine mother deities are goddesses who are worshipped as mothers of great figures like Sansin (Mountain God) or national progenitors.

While in national foundation epics and other myths the hero exhibits extraordinary powers that land him on the throne, in dangsinhwa, the miraculous powers of the village god continues to develop while serving as evidence of its sanctity and the effectiveness of the rituals. Village god myths, therefore, are openended narratves, continuously shifting and growing.