Sock-Gift on Winter Solstice(冬至獻襪)

Sock-Gift on Winter Solstice

Headword

동지헌말 ( 冬至獻襪 , Dongji Heonmal )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Winter > 11th Lunar month > Seasonal Terms

Writer ChoiDukwon(崔德源)

Dongji heonmal (Kor. 동지헌말, Chin. 冬至獻襪, lit. gift of socks on Winter Solstice) is a custom observed on Dongji (Kor. 동지, Chin. 冬至, Winter Solstice) in which women sew quilted socks for their female in-laws, such as grandmothers, mothers, aunts or sisters-in-law. When household finances allowed it, Korean women of the past sewed new clothes for their elderly in-laws and children. The custom was a gesture expressing hope for both good crop yields and abundant offspring. Accordingly, the practice was sometimes called pungjeong (Kor. 풍정, Chin. 豊呈, lit. harvest gift-giving).

In the “Seongho Saseol” (Kor. 성호사설, Chin. 星湖僿說, Encyclopedic Discourse of Yi Ik, 1740), the Silhak (Kor. 실학, Chin. 實學, lit. Practical Learning) scholar Yi Ik (1681-1763) describes a practice in which young wives, having newly joined the family, sewed quilted socks for their parents-in-law on Dongji. The custom originated in China where Dongji was called Changzhi (Kor. 장지, Chin. 長至). The Chinese name was in reference to shadows becoming longer at this time of the year due to the sun’s position at its southernmost location. A popular belief associated with Dongji is that wearing newly-sewn socks and stepping into shadows will prolong one’s life. The increasing daylight after Dongji was equated with life expectancy. Dongji is the day when, according to fengshui, negative energy begins its retreat and positive energy starts to gain vigor. Accordingly, the custom of giving new quilted socks on Dongji may be understood as a gesture intended to obtain abundance and fecundity in the new year.

Sock-Gift on Winter Solstice

Sock-Gift on Winter Solstice
Headword

동지헌말 ( 冬至獻襪 , Dongji Heonmal )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Winter > 11th Lunar month > Seasonal Terms

Writer ChoiDukwon(崔德源)

Dongji heonmal (Kor. 동지헌말, Chin. 冬至獻襪, lit. gift of socks on Winter Solstice) is a custom observed on Dongji (Kor. 동지, Chin. 冬至, Winter Solstice) in which women sew quilted socks for their female in-laws, such as grandmothers, mothers, aunts or sisters-in-law. When household finances allowed it, Korean women of the past sewed new clothes for their elderly in-laws and children. The custom was a gesture expressing hope for both good crop yields and abundant offspring. Accordingly, the practice was sometimes called pungjeong (Kor. 풍정, Chin. 豊呈, lit. harvest gift-giving).

In the “Seongho Saseol” (Kor. 성호사설, Chin. 星湖僿說, Encyclopedic Discourse of Yi Ik, 1740), the Silhak (Kor. 실학, Chin. 實學, lit. Practical Learning) scholar Yi Ik (1681-1763) describes a practice in which young wives, having newly joined the family, sewed quilted socks for their parents-in-law on Dongji. The custom originated in China where Dongji was called Changzhi (Kor. 장지, Chin. 長至). The Chinese name was in reference to shadows becoming longer at this time of the year due to the sun’s position at its southernmost location. A popular belief associated with Dongji is that wearing newly-sewn socks and stepping into shadows will prolong one’s life. The increasing daylight after Dongji was equated with life expectancy. Dongji is the day when, according to fengshui, negative energy begins its retreat and positive energy starts to gain vigor. Accordingly, the custom of giving new quilted socks on Dongji may be understood as a gesture intended to obtain abundance and fecundity in the new year.