Ear-Sharpening Liquor(耳明酒)

Ear-Sharpening Liquor

Headword

귀밝이술 ( 耳明酒 , Gwibalgisul )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JooYoungha(周永河)

Gwibalgisul (Kor. 귀밝이술, lit. ear-sharpening liquor) is a rice wine drunk before breakfast on the Great Full Moon Festival Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). People in traditional Korea believed that drinking gwibalgisul on this day and at this precise hour would improve one’s hearing. Gwibalgisul is also known under Sino-Korean names including imyeongju (Kor. 이명주, Chin. 耳明酒), myeongiju (Kor. 명이주, Chin. 明耳酒), yurongju (Kor. 유롱주, Chin. 牖聾酒), chirongju (Kor. 치롱주, Chin. 治聾酒) and ichongju (Kor. 이총주, Chin. 耳聰酒).

All members of a household, irrespective of age and sex, drank this liquor. It would be served first to the oldest man of the family, and then to the rest of the male members in order of age. The female members of the family would then drink it, also in order of age, from the oldest to the youngest. Children were allowed only to wet their lips. While the younger members of the family drank, the elders would say “Have great ears, have great eyes.” The custom of sharing gwibalgisul was an unusual occasion in traditional Korean society since fathers and sons drinking together violated the Confucian norms. During the Joseon period (1392-1910), gwibalgisul as well as all other liquors consumed in a family were brewed at home.

The custom of drinking gwibalgisul is one of the many Korean New Year customs that hope to keep calamities at bay and ensure good fortune in the year ahead. During the Joseon period normal rice wine was drunk warm (it was heated inside a ladle placed in a boiling pot of water). Gwibalgisul, however, was served cold, in order to retain the ability to dispel evil spirits, a power attributed to this very special wine.

Ear-Sharpening Liquor

Ear-Sharpening Liquor
Headword

귀밝이술 ( 耳明酒 , Gwibalgisul )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JooYoungha(周永河)

Gwibalgisul (Kor. 귀밝이술, lit. ear-sharpening liquor) is a rice wine drunk before breakfast on the Great Full Moon Festival Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). People in traditional Korea believed that drinking gwibalgisul on this day and at this precise hour would improve one’s hearing. Gwibalgisul is also known under Sino-Korean names including imyeongju (Kor. 이명주, Chin. 耳明酒), myeongiju (Kor. 명이주, Chin. 明耳酒), yurongju (Kor. 유롱주, Chin. 牖聾酒), chirongju (Kor. 치롱주, Chin. 治聾酒) and ichongju (Kor. 이총주, Chin. 耳聰酒).

All members of a household, irrespective of age and sex, drank this liquor. It would be served first to the oldest man of the family, and then to the rest of the male members in order of age. The female members of the family would then drink it, also in order of age, from the oldest to the youngest. Children were allowed only to wet their lips. While the younger members of the family drank, the elders would say “Have great ears, have great eyes.” The custom of sharing gwibalgisul was an unusual occasion in traditional Korean society since fathers and sons drinking together violated the Confucian norms. During the Joseon period (1392-1910), gwibalgisul as well as all other liquors consumed in a family were brewed at home.

The custom of drinking gwibalgisul is one of the many Korean New Year customs that hope to keep calamities at bay and ensure good fortune in the year ahead. During the Joseon period normal rice wine was drunk warm (it was heated inside a ladle placed in a boiling pot of water). Gwibalgisul, however, was served cold, in order to retain the ability to dispel evil spirits, a power attributed to this very special wine.