Ritual for Village Guardian Gods(酺祭)

Ritual for Village Guardian Gods

Headword

포제 ( 酺祭 , Poje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer MoonMoobyung(文武秉)

Poje is the general term used for Confucian village rituals held on Jeju Island.

Exact terms for these rituals can vary: When the worshipped god is Posinjiryeong (Tutelary God), the ritual is called poje, nongpoje or ipoje, which are the most widely used terms; when Isajisin (Village God of Land and Grains) is worshipped, the ritual is called isaje or dongsaje; and hyangje, maeulje, dongnetje are broader terms for referring to the rituals as general village rites.

Poje is held on the day of Jeonghae (pig) in the first lunar month, offering livestock like a cow or pig as sacrifice to pray to the heavens for a good harvest and good health and longevity for the family. Local male dignitaries serve as ritual officials and the ritual follows Confucian procedures.

The ritual was developed in Joseon as a formal rite reflecting the community’s new political order as a male-oriented Confucian feudal society was established, which viewed shamanism with disdain and attempted to reform traditional shamanic rituals into Confucian memorial services. At first, the shamanic and Confucian procedures were combined into a single ritual, but over time they were split into the shamanic village ritual (maeulgut) organized by women, and the male-dominated Confucian memorial rite poje.

At the end of the year, an assembly called pojehyanghoe is convened for ritual preparation, including funding, accommodations for ritual officials (jecheong), and election of officials. Another general meeting is arranged after the ritual for a settlement of accounts. The group is an autonomous communal organization based on regional or blood ties.

To prepare for the ritual, elected officials move into special accommodations and spend three days offering their devotion. In the past, this process used to take five to seven days. During this period of collective living, a taboo rope (geumjul) is hung to keep out people with impurities, and the ritual officials are prohibited from seeing human or animal corpses, from touching unclean objects like urine pails, eating unclean foods like dog or horse meat, and also from sexual activity.

Ritual for Village Guardian Gods

Ritual for Village Guardian Gods
Headword

포제 ( 酺祭 , Poje )

Location of the encyclopedia

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

Writer MoonMoobyung(文武秉)

Poje is the general term used for Confucian village rituals held on Jeju Island.

Exact terms for these rituals can vary: When the worshipped god is Posinjiryeong (Tutelary God), the ritual is called poje, nongpoje or ipoje, which are the most widely used terms; when Isajisin (Village God of Land and Grains) is worshipped, the ritual is called isaje or dongsaje; and hyangje, maeulje, dongnetje are broader terms for referring to the rituals as general village rites.

Poje is held on the day of Jeonghae (pig) in the first lunar month, offering livestock like a cow or pig as sacrifice to pray to the heavens for a good harvest and good health and longevity for the family. Local male dignitaries serve as ritual officials and the ritual follows Confucian procedures.

The ritual was developed in Joseon as a formal rite reflecting the community’s new political order as a male-oriented Confucian feudal society was established, which viewed shamanism with disdain and attempted to reform traditional shamanic rituals into Confucian memorial services. At first, the shamanic and Confucian procedures were combined into a single ritual, but over time they were split into the shamanic village ritual (maeulgut) organized by women, and the male-dominated Confucian memorial rite poje.

At the end of the year, an assembly called pojehyanghoe is convened for ritual preparation, including funding, accommodations for ritual officials (jecheong), and election of officials. Another general meeting is arranged after the ritual for a settlement of accounts. The group is an autonomous communal organization based on regional or blood ties.

To prepare for the ritual, elected officials move into special accommodations and spend three days offering their devotion. In the past, this process used to take five to seven days. During this period of collective living, a taboo rope (geumjul) is hung to keep out people with impurities, and the ritual officials are prohibited from seeing human or animal corpses, from touching unclean objects like urine pails, eating unclean foods like dog or horse meat, and also from sexual activity.