Ritual for Celestial God

Ritual for Celestial God

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer MoonMoobyung(文武秉)

Cheonje is a ritual for Cheonsin, a celestial god that has been worshipped since ancient times.

Cheonsin worship deifies the sky itself or believes in the existence of a heavenly transcendental divinity. Variations of the name Cheonsin include Haneullim, Haneunim and Hananim, all meaning sky god; Chinjiwang, which is used on Jeju Island; Okwangsangje, or Pure August Jade Emperor, the name of the highest Taoist deity and ruler of the heavens; and Jeseokcheon, which originated from Buddhism.

Celestial god worship in Korean folk religion was established in the foundation myths of ancient kingdoms of Buyeo, Goguryeo, Garak, Silla and Gojoseon, which depict their progenitors as celestial deities that descended to the earthly kingdom and became kings. Rituals for worshipping the heavens included Yeonggo of Buyeo and Dongmaeng of Goguryeo, and there are records of a New Year ritual for the sky and earth in Baekje, featuring drums and pipes, and of a ritual in Silla that took place at an altar for the celestial god on Mt. Taebaek.

Altars for cheonje are generally built on the summit or the foot of a mountain without a roof structure, the grounds bordered with a circle of rocks and the altar to one side. Rituals are held seasonally, in the first lunar month, or once every few years or for special occasions on a selected auspicious day.

Two examples of celestial god worship rituals still being observed today are the Mt. Taebaek Cheonje and the Ritual at Celestial God Worship Altar in Dongho-dong, Donghae. The former is held each year on October 3, National Foundation Day, to pray for peace around the country and for the people, a tradition that has been observed since the Silla dynasty. The altar for celestial god worship cheonjedan is located on the summit of Mt. Taebaek and was designated as Important Folklore Cultural Heritage in 1991. The Dongho-dong ritual is a village rite held each year on the first day of the first lunar month at the altar cheonjedan to pray for peace and harmony in the community.

On Chuja Island in Jeju, a ritual for worshipping Cheonsin, Jisin (Earth God) and Yongwang (Dragon King) is held each year on the first day of the second lunar month. Cheonsin is the first deity worshipped in the ritual, which was sometimes accompanied by a rain rite (giuje). This ritual is closely related to the livelihood of the community, similar to the big catch ritual pungeoje.

Ritual for Celestial God

Ritual for Celestial God
Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer MoonMoobyung(文武秉)

Cheonje is a ritual for Cheonsin, a celestial god that has been worshipped since ancient times.

Cheonsin worship deifies the sky itself or believes in the existence of a heavenly transcendental divinity. Variations of the name Cheonsin include Haneullim, Haneunim and Hananim, all meaning sky god; Chinjiwang, which is used on Jeju Island; Okwangsangje, or Pure August Jade Emperor, the name of the highest Taoist deity and ruler of the heavens; and Jeseokcheon, which originated from Buddhism.

Celestial god worship in Korean folk religion was established in the foundation myths of ancient kingdoms of Buyeo, Goguryeo, Garak, Silla and Gojoseon, which depict their progenitors as celestial deities that descended to the earthly kingdom and became kings. Rituals for worshipping the heavens included Yeonggo of Buyeo and Dongmaeng of Goguryeo, and there are records of a New Year ritual for the sky and earth in Baekje, featuring drums and pipes, and of a ritual in Silla that took place at an altar for the celestial god on Mt. Taebaek.

Altars for cheonje are generally built on the summit or the foot of a mountain without a roof structure, the grounds bordered with a circle of rocks and the altar to one side. Rituals are held seasonally, in the first lunar month, or once every few years or for special occasions on a selected auspicious day.

Two examples of celestial god worship rituals still being observed today are the Mt. Taebaek Cheonje and the Ritual at Celestial God Worship Altar in Dongho-dong, Donghae. The former is held each year on October 3, National Foundation Day, to pray for peace around the country and for the people, a tradition that has been observed since the Silla dynasty. The altar for celestial god worship cheonjedan is located on the summit of Mt. Taebaek and was designated as Important Folklore Cultural Heritage in 1991. The Dongho-dong ritual is a village rite held each year on the first day of the first lunar month at the altar cheonjedan to pray for peace and harmony in the community.

On Chuja Island in Jeju, a ritual for worshipping Cheonsin, Jisin (Earth God) and Yongwang (Dragon King) is held each year on the first day of the second lunar month. Cheonsin is the first deity worshipped in the ritual, which was sometimes accompanied by a rain rite (giuje). This ritual is closely related to the livelihood of the community, similar to the big catch ritual pungeoje.