Rites for God of Agriculture(農神祭)

Rites for God of Agriculture

Headword

농신제 ( 農神祭 , Nongsinje )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Summer > 6th Lunar month > Seasonal Holidays

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Nongsinje (Kor. 농신제, Chin. 農神祭, lit. rite for agricultural god) are folk rites in which farmers go to the fields with food offerings and pray to the god of agriculture for a good harvest in the upcoming season. Such rites take place on festival days during the period of intensive growth and maturing of crops, i.e. on Yudu (Kor. 유두, Chin. 流頭, the fifteenth of the sixth lunar month), Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months), and Chilseok (Kor. 칠석, Chin. 七夕, the seventh of the seventh lunar month).

As the growth of crops during this period decides the success of the whole farming season, farmers considered nongsinje especially important. They offered newly harvested fruits and other farm products to the ancestral spirits and agricultural deities as an expression of gratitude. In addition, they asked the gods to keep their fields free from insect plagues and to provide a bountiful autumn harvest.

One important feature of these rites involved the abundant usage of oil in preparing the food offerings. After a worship service, these oily foods were buried in and around farming fields so that the smell of oil spread throughout a vast area. In the middle of the summer heat, the oil odor remained strong for a long time and chased away harmful insects. At the time the farmers did not know about chemical pesticides, and this was an efficient method to prevent insect damage to the fields. Emitting this oil odor on the days of Sambok was also considered helpful in coping with the summer heat.

Rites for God of Agriculture

Rites for God of Agriculture
Headword

농신제 ( 農神祭 , Nongsinje )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Summer > 6th Lunar month > Seasonal Holidays

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Nongsinje (Kor. 농신제, Chin. 農神祭, lit. rite for agricultural god) are folk rites in which farmers go to the fields with food offerings and pray to the god of agriculture for a good harvest in the upcoming season. Such rites take place on festival days during the period of intensive growth and maturing of crops, i.e. on Yudu (Kor. 유두, Chin. 流頭, the fifteenth of the sixth lunar month), Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months), and Chilseok (Kor. 칠석, Chin. 七夕, the seventh of the seventh lunar month).

As the growth of crops during this period decides the success of the whole farming season, farmers considered nongsinje especially important. They offered newly harvested fruits and other farm products to the ancestral spirits and agricultural deities as an expression of gratitude. In addition, they asked the gods to keep their fields free from insect plagues and to provide a bountiful autumn harvest.

One important feature of these rites involved the abundant usage of oil in preparing the food offerings. After a worship service, these oily foods were buried in and around farming fields so that the smell of oil spread throughout a vast area. In the middle of the summer heat, the oil odor remained strong for a long time and chased away harmful insects. At the time the farmers did not know about chemical pesticides, and this was an efficient method to prevent insect damage to the fields. Emitting this oil odor on the days of Sambok was also considered helpful in coping with the summer heat.