Childbirth rituals(出生儀禮)

Childbirth rituals

Headword

출생의례 ( 出生儀禮 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Rituals practiced before and after the birth of a child in order to pray for conception or to raise the new-born baby without any trouble.

Childbirth rituals, or chulsaenguirye, concentrate on achieving two goals: one is to deliver the child without any difficulty and the other to raise the new-born baby without any trouble until its dol (Kor. 돌, lit. first birthday).

Chulsaenguirye can be divided into the following five stages:

Gija (Kor. 기자, Chin. 祈子, lit. supplication for a son): This ritual is to make supplications to obtain a baby, particularly a son, including devout prayers or shamanic rites, eating or drinking particular food, using magical objects or power, practicing good deeds through charitable or virtuous acts, and simulating the act of conception or childbirth in front of a genital-shaped stone, rock, or tree.
② Before childbirth (Kor. 산전, Chin. 産前): When a woman conceives a child, not only the pregnant woman but also all of her family members should be careful of their behavior and abide by various kinds of taboos. In particular, as the due date draws close, they should observe the taboos more strictly. The taboos are mostly restrictions on food and certain behaviors. They play a very important role in protecting the pregnant woman and the fetus from any harm or danger that may befall them.
③ Childbirth (Kor. 출산, Chin. 出産): When the due date draws near, a delivery room is prepared. If the family has two pregnant women whose due dates fall in the same month, one should be sent to another home for better postnatal care. On the date of delivery, diverse methods were employed to help the pregnant woman overcome the difficulties of labor.
④ After childbirth (Kor. 산후, Chin. 産後): Postnatal rituals were designed to separate the mother and child from impurities and danger and to integrate them into the community of the family, relatives, and society. After the birth of a child, various rituals were performed, including the disposal of the placenta and the umbilical cord, setting a table for Samsin, or the deity of childbirth who was thought to protect the child, and hanging geumjul, or a rice straw rope to repel evil spirits, at the front gate of the house where the child was born.
⑤ Samchiril (Kor. 삼칠일, period of three weeks after childbirth), baegil (Kor. 백일, lit. the one hundredth day after birth), and doljanchi (Kor. 돌잔치, lit. feast for the first birthday): When the baby was born, he or she went through several rites or feasts from birth until its first birthday. On baegil, or the hundredth day after birth, a rite was held to celebrate the baby’s survival to the symbolically complete day of one hundred, and then on its first birthday, called dol, a greater feast than baegil was given in celebration of the child’s first year of life.

Going through chulsaenguirye, the child changes status from fetus to newborn baby, to infant, and ultimately to become a member of the family. Also, the mother returns from the status of pregnant woman and mother of a newborn child to the status of mother. Therefore, childbirth rituals have the significance of changing the biological birth of a baby to the sociological birth of a family.

Childbirth rituals

Childbirth rituals
Headword

출생의례 ( 出生儀禮 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Rituals practiced before and after the birth of a child in order to pray for conception or to raise the new-born baby without any trouble.

Childbirth rituals, or chulsaenguirye, concentrate on achieving two goals: one is to deliver the child without any difficulty and the other to raise the new-born baby without any trouble until its dol (Kor. 돌, lit. first birthday).

Chulsaenguirye can be divided into the following five stages:

① Gija (Kor. 기자, Chin. 祈子, lit. supplication for a son): This ritual is to make supplications to obtain a baby, particularly a son, including devout prayers or shamanic rites, eating or drinking particular food, using magical objects or power, practicing good deeds through charitable or virtuous acts, and simulating the act of conception or childbirth in front of a genital-shaped stone, rock, or tree.
② Before childbirth (Kor. 산전, Chin. 産前): When a woman conceives a child, not only the pregnant woman but also all of her family members should be careful of their behavior and abide by various kinds of taboos. In particular, as the due date draws close, they should observe the taboos more strictly. The taboos are mostly restrictions on food and certain behaviors. They play a very important role in protecting the pregnant woman and the fetus from any harm or danger that may befall them.
③ Childbirth (Kor. 출산, Chin. 出産): When the due date draws near, a delivery room is prepared. If the family has two pregnant women whose due dates fall in the same month, one should be sent to another home for better postnatal care. On the date of delivery, diverse methods were employed to help the pregnant woman overcome the difficulties of labor.
④ After childbirth (Kor. 산후, Chin. 産後): Postnatal rituals were designed to separate the mother and child from impurities and danger and to integrate them into the community of the family, relatives, and society. After the birth of a child, various rituals were performed, including the disposal of the placenta and the umbilical cord, setting a table for Samsin, or the deity of childbirth who was thought to protect the child, and hanging geumjul, or a rice straw rope to repel evil spirits, at the front gate of the house where the child was born.
⑤ Samchiril (Kor. 삼칠일, period of three weeks after childbirth), baegil (Kor. 백일, lit. the one hundredth day after birth), and doljanchi (Kor. 돌잔치, lit. feast for the first birthday): When the baby was born, he or she went through several rites or feasts from birth until its first birthday. On baegil, or the hundredth day after birth, a rite was held to celebrate the baby’s survival to the symbolically complete day of one hundred, and then on its first birthday, called dol, a greater feast than baegil was given in celebration of the child’s first year of life.

Going through chulsaenguirye, the child changes status from fetus to newborn baby, to infant, and ultimately to become a member of the family. Also, the mother returns from the status of pregnant woman and mother of a newborn child to the status of mother. Therefore, childbirth rituals have the significance of changing the biological birth of a baby to the sociological birth of a family.