Sacred Pole Ritual(索苏竿祭)

Sacred Pole Ritual

Headword

솟대제 ( 索苏竿祭 , Sotdaeje )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Rites and Officiants

Writer KimSunpoong(金善豊)

Sotdaeje, or sacred pole ritual, is a communal rite for worshipping sacred poles (sotdae) as village guardians.

The rituals are believed to have originated from rites related to a wooden column erected in a district named Sodo in Mahan, one of the Three Han States of ancient Korea, circa 1st–3rd centuries. The “Account of the Three Hans” chapter in the volume History of the Wei Dynasty of the Chinese history book Sanguozhi (Records of the Three Kingdoms) includes a passage about a wooden pole erected in Sodo, hung with a rattle and a drum in order to worship the spirits. If this was to be viewed as a sacred pole and evidence that a ritual for the spirits was held, this would no doubt mark the beginning of sotdaeje.

Sacred pole rituals are held when the poles are erected, or on a selected date. The poles are sometimes erected together with the guardian posts jangseung, in which case the sacred pole ritual takes place simultaneously.

A case of Jungkok village in Jinan of North Jeolla Province, sotdae is erected for the purpose of preventing fire. The village had been suffered a number of fire and it was believed that the cause of fire was the mountain to the East of the village which was geomantically considered a fire mountain (hwasan) containing an overwhelming amount of fire energy. Villagers could stop fire by erecting sotdae facing the mountain. On the fourteenth day, the villagers hold a ritual before setting out for a nearby mountain to cut down lumber for the poles, and the following day the ritual host heads for the market in town to purchase ingredients for sacrificial foods. The sacred poles are also made on this day, with pine wood secured the day before. When they are completed, they are erected, the bottom ends buried in the ground, which is followed by a simple ritual held next to the poles. The reason the poles are topped with a duck is because ducks are waterfowl, believed to be capable of guarding against fire.

Sacred Pole Ritual

Sacred Pole Ritual
Headword

솟대제 ( 索苏竿祭 , Sotdaeje )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Village Gods > Rites and Officiants

Writer KimSunpoong(金善豊)

Sotdaeje, or sacred pole ritual, is a communal rite for worshipping sacred poles (sotdae) as village guardians.

The rituals are believed to have originated from rites related to a wooden column erected in a district named Sodo in Mahan, one of the Three Han States of ancient Korea, circa 1st–3rd centuries. The “Account of the Three Hans” chapter in the volume History of the Wei Dynasty of the Chinese history book Sanguozhi (Records of the Three Kingdoms) includes a passage about a wooden pole erected in Sodo, hung with a rattle and a drum in order to worship the spirits. If this was to be viewed as a sacred pole and evidence that a ritual for the spirits was held, this would no doubt mark the beginning of sotdaeje.

Sacred pole rituals are held when the poles are erected, or on a selected date. The poles are sometimes erected together with the guardian posts jangseung, in which case the sacred pole ritual takes place simultaneously.

A case of Jungkok village in Jinan of North Jeolla Province, sotdae is erected for the purpose of preventing fire. The village had been suffered a number of fire and it was believed that the cause of fire was the mountain to the East of the village which was geomantically considered a fire mountain (hwasan) containing an overwhelming amount of fire energy. Villagers could stop fire by erecting sotdae facing the mountain. On the fourteenth day, the villagers hold a ritual before setting out for a nearby mountain to cut down lumber for the poles, and the following day the ritual host heads for the market in town to purchase ingredients for sacrificial foods. The sacred poles are also made on this day, with pine wood secured the day before. When they are completed, they are erected, the bottom ends buried in the ground, which is followed by a simple ritual held next to the poles. The reason the poles are topped with a duck is because ducks are waterfowl, believed to be capable of guarding against fire.