Ritual for Dragon King(龙王祭)

Ritual for Dragon King

Headword

용왕제 ( 龙王祭 , Yongwangje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

Yongwangje is a ritual for worshipping Dragon King at a venue on or by the water, including the river, sea or a well, to pray for a good harvest and a good catch, peace in the family and good health for children, and the prevention of bad fortune.

Yongwangje can be categorized into rituals that are held privately in the home and those organized by the community as village rituals, but both serve the same purpose.

The dragon king ritual practiced in the home is also called eobusim (ritual of mercy for water creatures) or gogibapjugi (fish-feeding); yongwangmeogigi (feeding the Dragon King), also yowangmegi or yongwangbapjugi; and other variations including yowangje, yuwangje, and yuhwangje. The ritual is generally held on the fourteenth day of the first lunar month or on Jeongwoldaeboreum (Great Full Moon), which falls on the fifteenth, but the date can vary each household or region, ranging from the beginning of the year or the second lunar month to Samjinnal (third day of the third lunar month), Chopail (Buddha’s Birthday), Chirwolchilseok (seventh day of the seventh lunar month), the tenth lunar month, and the last day of the lunar calendar. It is an annual ritual, but can also take place on special occasions like trouble in the family.

Yongwang is believed to oversee water, so any location by a body of water, including the sea, river, well, or spring, can serve as a ritual venue. Each village usually has several designated places of worship, but a specific spring or rock might be picked out by a fortuneteller. Sacrificial foods include steamed rice, sea mustard, pollock, fruits in three colors, candles and sacred texts. First, straw is spread out at the ritual venue and a table of sacrificial foods is set up. Then the woman of the household offers her bow and burns the sacred texts as she prays for peace and safety, starting with the text for Yongwang, then the ones for the man of the household, then the sons and the daughters. Sometimes the text burning (soji) procedure is replaced by that of throwing into the water steamed rice wrapped in mulberry paper or dried sea laver as an offering to Yongwang. Invocation of the names of the family members or a specific person accompanies this process. This is followed by floating a gourd bowl carrying bits of the sacrificial food and a lit candle on the water, or a small boat woven with the straw that had been spread out to set up the table, carrying a tiny oil lamp in a bowl and some sea mustard (miyeok). It is believed that the gourd bowl or the straw boat will carry bad fortunes far and away.

Yongwangje as village ritual is observed in seaside villages on islands along the coastal regions. Names for the ritual vary by region, including gaetje (fishing ritual), yongsinje (dragon god ritual), haesinje (sea god ritual), and pungeoje (big catch ritual). Yongwangje can be staged as part of the village ritual (dongje), or independently. Some are organized only by women, while some by the entire community. In most villages, the ritual takes the form of a communal festival participated in by both men and women, organized by the village’s women who bring the sacrificial foods they have prepared at home and offer their personal prayers. In some regions, a straw effigy is placed inside a miniature straw boat (ttibae) and floated away, as a gesture of chasing away the village’s bad fortunes.

Ritual for Dragon King

Ritual for Dragon King
Headword

용왕제 ( 龙王祭 , Yongwangje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

Yongwangje is a ritual for worshipping Dragon King at a venue on or by the water, including the river, sea or a well, to pray for a good harvest and a good catch, peace in the family and good health for children, and the prevention of bad fortune.

Yongwangje can be categorized into rituals that are held privately in the home and those organized by the community as village rituals, but both serve the same purpose.

The dragon king ritual practiced in the home is also called eobusim (ritual of mercy for water creatures) or gogibapjugi (fish-feeding); yongwangmeogigi (feeding the Dragon King), also yowangmegi or yongwangbapjugi; and other variations including yowangje, yuwangje, and yuhwangje. The ritual is generally held on the fourteenth day of the first lunar month or on Jeongwoldaeboreum (Great Full Moon), which falls on the fifteenth, but the date can vary each household or region, ranging from the beginning of the year or the second lunar month to Samjinnal (third day of the third lunar month), Chopail (Buddha’s Birthday), Chirwolchilseok (seventh day of the seventh lunar month), the tenth lunar month, and the last day of the lunar calendar. It is an annual ritual, but can also take place on special occasions like trouble in the family.

Yongwang is believed to oversee water, so any location by a body of water, including the sea, river, well, or spring, can serve as a ritual venue. Each village usually has several designated places of worship, but a specific spring or rock might be picked out by a fortuneteller. Sacrificial foods include steamed rice, sea mustard, pollock, fruits in three colors, candles and sacred texts. First, straw is spread out at the ritual venue and a table of sacrificial foods is set up. Then the woman of the household offers her bow and burns the sacred texts as she prays for peace and safety, starting with the text for Yongwang, then the ones for the man of the household, then the sons and the daughters. Sometimes the text burning (soji) procedure is replaced by that of throwing into the water steamed rice wrapped in mulberry paper or dried sea laver as an offering to Yongwang. Invocation of the names of the family members or a specific person accompanies this process. This is followed by floating a gourd bowl carrying bits of the sacrificial food and a lit candle on the water, or a small boat woven with the straw that had been spread out to set up the table, carrying a tiny oil lamp in a bowl and some sea mustard (miyeok). It is believed that the gourd bowl or the straw boat will carry bad fortunes far and away.

Yongwangje as village ritual is observed in seaside villages on islands along the coastal regions. Names for the ritual vary by region, including gaetje (fishing ritual), yongsinje (dragon god ritual), haesinje (sea god ritual), and pungeoje (big catch ritual). Yongwangje can be staged as part of the village ritual (dongje), or independently. Some are organized only by women, while some by the entire community. In most villages, the ritual takes the form of a communal festival participated in by both men and women, organized by the village’s women who bring the sacrificial foods they have prepared at home and offer their personal prayers. In some regions, a straw effigy is placed inside a miniature straw boat (ttibae) and floated away, as a gesture of chasing away the village’s bad fortunes.