Stone Stacks Ritual(塔祭)

Stone Stacks Ritual

Headword

탑제 ( 塔祭 , Tapje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Tapje, or stone stacks ritual, is a communal rite held around Seol (Lunar New Year) after building stone stacks at the village entrance as its main guardian deity or as a low shrine deity.

The stacks, built with natural gathered stones, are generally conical in shape, filled inside with small stones, clay or cement, and the gaps between the stones sealed to keep them in place.

Stone stacks are also erected in locations where supplementation (bibo) is needed for specific geographical features that are considered inauspicious according to geomantic beliefs. The stacks are usually built as a pair, comprising a male and a female. It is important that communal effort and devotion are invested into the construction of the stacks.

On the day of the stone stacks ritual, the ritual officials wake up early to perform their ablutions and to clean the stone stacks and their surroundings to prepare for the evening’s rites. When the troupe of musicians announces the start of the ritual by parading around the village with loud music, the villagers join the procession and head to the stacks, where the music playing comes to an end. The ritual proceeds with the offering of sacrificial foods, burning of incense, libation, bowing and burning of prayer text (soji), during which the villagers offer their prayers with hand-rubbing (bison) or casting their eyes in all four directions around the stacks.

Tapje is a distinctively Buddhist ritual and the women of the village play a dominant role. In some villages the women circle the stacks carrying candles, reciting the Buddhist chant, “namuamitabul, ” to pray for their families and sons, then leave candles burning on the stacks, in the numbers of their sons. It is customary in some villages to include in the straw garland serving as taboo rope (geumjul) auspicious prayer slips (gilji) inscribed with the Chinese character “佛, ” meaning Buddha.

Stone Stacks Ritual

Stone Stacks Ritual
Headword

탑제 ( 塔祭 , Tapje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Tapje, or stone stacks ritual, is a communal rite held around Seol (Lunar New Year) after building stone stacks at the village entrance as its main guardian deity or as a low shrine deity.

The stacks, built with natural gathered stones, are generally conical in shape, filled inside with small stones, clay or cement, and the gaps between the stones sealed to keep them in place.

Stone stacks are also erected in locations where supplementation (bibo) is needed for specific geographical features that are considered inauspicious according to geomantic beliefs. The stacks are usually built as a pair, comprising a male and a female. It is important that communal effort and devotion are invested into the construction of the stacks.

On the day of the stone stacks ritual, the ritual officials wake up early to perform their ablutions and to clean the stone stacks and their surroundings to prepare for the evening’s rites. When the troupe of musicians announces the start of the ritual by parading around the village with loud music, the villagers join the procession and head to the stacks, where the music playing comes to an end. The ritual proceeds with the offering of sacrificial foods, burning of incense, libation, bowing and burning of prayer text (soji), during which the villagers offer their prayers with hand-rubbing (bison) or casting their eyes in all four directions around the stacks.

Tapje is a distinctively Buddhist ritual and the women of the village play a dominant role. In some villages the women circle the stacks carrying candles, reciting the Buddhist chant, “namuamitabul, ” to pray for their families and sons, then leave candles burning on the stacks, in the numbers of their sons. It is customary in some villages to include in the straw garland serving as taboo rope (geumjul) auspicious prayer slips (gilji) inscribed with the Chinese character “佛, ” meaning Buddha.