New Year’s Pruning(歲杪)

New Year’s Pruning

Headword

세초 ( 歲杪 , Secho )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Winter > 12th Lunar month > Rites

Writer SangKisook(尙基淑)

Secho (Kor. 세초, Chin. 歲抄, lit. [New] Year’s pruning) refers to the shuffling of government and army personnel during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) that took place every year in the sixth and twelfth lunar months. The practice was first established as a form of audit to discipline government officials guilty of misconduct. It prescribed the Ijo (Kor. 이조, Chin. 吏曹, Ministry of Personnel) and the Byeongjo (Kor. 병조, Chin. 兵曹, Ministry of Military Affairs) to present the king with a list of officials found at fault. In practice, much of the process was about filling vacancies in the army when the contingent was reduced by death, disease or desertion. A round of secho was also performed in order to reward exemplary individuals and consisted of presenting to the king, by the royal cabinet, a list of nominees – skillful farmers and livestock farmers, savvy merchants, persons noted for filial piety or righteous conduct, and government employees who excelled in the civil service examination.

In the sixth and twelfth months of each year, a survey was conducted to determine the number of vacant army posts, due to death, desertion or early discharges related to illness. The posts were filled according to the manner prescribed by relevant decrees, and a failure to abide by the set procedures was punishable by law. Army chiefs neglecting their duty of replenishing a depleted contingent were dishonorably discharged, and those who failed to complete their round of secho by the deadline were subject to disciplinary action and demotion.

New Year’s Pruning

New Year’s Pruning
Headword

세초 ( 歲杪 , Secho )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Winter > 12th Lunar month > Rites

Writer SangKisook(尙基淑)

Secho (Kor. 세초, Chin. 歲抄, lit. [New] Year’s pruning) refers to the shuffling of government and army personnel during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) that took place every year in the sixth and twelfth lunar months. The practice was first established as a form of audit to discipline government officials guilty of misconduct. It prescribed the Ijo (Kor. 이조, Chin. 吏曹, Ministry of Personnel) and the Byeongjo (Kor. 병조, Chin. 兵曹, Ministry of Military Affairs) to present the king with a list of officials found at fault. In practice, much of the process was about filling vacancies in the army when the contingent was reduced by death, disease or desertion. A round of secho was also performed in order to reward exemplary individuals and consisted of presenting to the king, by the royal cabinet, a list of nominees – skillful farmers and livestock farmers, savvy merchants, persons noted for filial piety or righteous conduct, and government employees who excelled in the civil service examination.

In the sixth and twelfth months of each year, a survey was conducted to determine the number of vacant army posts, due to death, desertion or early discharges related to illness. The posts were filled according to the manner prescribed by relevant decrees, and a failure to abide by the set procedures was punishable by law. Army chiefs neglecting their duty of replenishing a depleted contingent were dishonorably discharged, and those who failed to complete their round of secho by the deadline were subject to disciplinary action and demotion.