Ritual for the birth of male children(祈子儀禮)

Ritual for the birth of male children

Headword

기자의례 ( 祈子儀禮 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer KimMyungja(金明子)

Various rituals and practices performed to obtain a child, a male heir in particular.

The practices called gijauirye were performed to have many children, male children in particular. In past Korean society, women unable to have children were treated as committing a grave sin, and it was therefore extremely important for them to perform various ritual activities believed to give them children.

The term gijauirye refers to such activities as prayers and shamanic rituals called chiseong, eating or drinking special food or beverages, inviting the magical power of an object, accumulation of merit through acts of charity and good deeds and thoughts, and actions related to pregnancy and childbirth involving natural objects, such as stone or wood, in the shape of male and female genitalia.

Chiseong involved praying to various natural objects believed to have supernatural power or give magical benefits. Women tended to choose late evening or early morning for their prayers in the belief that praying in secret would be more effective. Before starting, they washed their bodies and cleansed their minds by avoiding anything that seemed evil. Specific examples of their activities are as follows.

① Praying in the depths of the mountains for three days, seven days, twenty one days, or one hundred days. ② Praying at a temple or shrines to the mountain god, village tutelary, or other deities. ③ Praying to household deities by offering a bowl of pure well water. ④ Praying to a spring, tree, large rock, or standing stone in particular.

As for those relying on specific food or drink, favorite items were those in phallic shapes or related to male children.

① Eating the boiled sexual organ of a rooster or ox, or a boiled egg laid on the lunar New Year’s Day. ② Cooking rice and seaweed soup for a woman as her first meal after giving birth, and sharing the meal with her. ③ Drinking water boiled with stone powder made by grinding the nose of a stone Buddhist statue, that of Maitreya in particular.

Those relying on magical practices carried with them a specific object believed to confer on them supernatural power, or stored such an object in a secret location. Objects believed to have magical power were largely those symbolizing virility or fertility. Specific examples of these objects and practices are as follows:

① Stealing the sanitary towel used by a woman who had given birth to many children and wearing it. ② Stealing the taboo rope from a house celebrating childbirth and storing it in one’s own home. ③ Stealing the kitchen knife from a large family with many children and making an axe head shape with it to be worn or placed under the pillow.

There were women who tried to have a child by accumulating merit through good deeds and thoughts for others. Specific examples are as follows: ① Some husbands laid stepping stones across a stream on the night of the first full moon of the year, helping their neighbors easily cross the stream. ② Both husband and wife took great care not to be involved in actions that could harm others and helped the needy.

Some people made more desperate efforts by relying on actions associated with pregnancy and childbirth involving various natural objects, stone or wood in particular, in the shape of male and female genitalia. Some of these actions were performed with shamanic prayers. Here are examples of such actions. ① Some women desiring to have children touched or rubbed their genitals against a phallic stone at night as they prayed. They would also rub together two stones resembling male and female genitalia. ② Some couples slept together at a place near two trees growing entangled together, or a tree with branches in Y-shape resembling a human crotch. Sometimes they put a stone in the tree crotch. ③ Some women wore the undergarment worn by a woman when delivering a baby, and spent a night in a delivery room, feigning labor and delivery.

There were numerous objects and actions involved in the efforts of childless couples to have a child of their own, but the couple’s earnestness and sincerity were believed to be the most important factors. It was generally believed that one could even move heavenly deities if one was sincere enough and the expression of such religious mentality was the distinguishing characteristic of the gijauirye tradition.

Ritual for the birth of male children

Ritual for the birth of male children
Headword

기자의례 ( 祈子儀禮 )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Rites of Passage > Korean Rites of Passage > Chulsaenguirye

Writer KimMyungja(金明子)

Various rituals and practices performed to obtain a child, a male heir in particular.

The practices called gijauirye were performed to have many children, male children in particular. In past Korean society, women unable to have children were treated as committing a grave sin, and it was therefore extremely important for them to perform various ritual activities believed to give them children.

The term gijauirye refers to such activities as prayers and shamanic rituals called chiseong, eating or drinking special food or beverages, inviting the magical power of an object, accumulation of merit through acts of charity and good deeds and thoughts, and actions related to pregnancy and childbirth involving natural objects, such as stone or wood, in the shape of male and female genitalia.

Chiseong involved praying to various natural objects believed to have supernatural power or give magical benefits. Women tended to choose late evening or early morning for their prayers in the belief that praying in secret would be more effective. Before starting, they washed their bodies and cleansed their minds by avoiding anything that seemed evil. Specific examples of their activities are as follows.

① Praying in the depths of the mountains for three days, seven days, twenty one days, or one hundred days. ② Praying at a temple or shrines to the mountain god, village tutelary, or other deities. ③ Praying to household deities by offering a bowl of pure well water. ④ Praying to a spring, tree, large rock, or standing stone in particular.

As for those relying on specific food or drink, favorite items were those in phallic shapes or related to male children.

① Eating the boiled sexual organ of a rooster or ox, or a boiled egg laid on the lunar New Year’s Day. ② Cooking rice and seaweed soup for a woman as her first meal after giving birth, and sharing the meal with her. ③ Drinking water boiled with stone powder made by grinding the nose of a stone Buddhist statue, that of Maitreya in particular.

Those relying on magical practices carried with them a specific object believed to confer on them supernatural power, or stored such an object in a secret location. Objects believed to have magical power were largely those symbolizing virility or fertility. Specific examples of these objects and practices are as follows:

① Stealing the sanitary towel used by a woman who had given birth to many children and wearing it. ② Stealing the taboo rope from a house celebrating childbirth and storing it in one’s own home. ③ Stealing the kitchen knife from a large family with many children and making an axe head shape with it to be worn or placed under the pillow.

There were women who tried to have a child by accumulating merit through good deeds and thoughts for others. Specific examples are as follows: ① Some husbands laid stepping stones across a stream on the night of the first full moon of the year, helping their neighbors easily cross the stream. ② Both husband and wife took great care not to be involved in actions that could harm others and helped the needy.

Some people made more desperate efforts by relying on actions associated with pregnancy and childbirth involving various natural objects, stone or wood in particular, in the shape of male and female genitalia. Some of these actions were performed with shamanic prayers. Here are examples of such actions. ① Some women desiring to have children touched or rubbed their genitals against a phallic stone at night as they prayed. They would also rub together two stones resembling male and female genitalia. ② Some couples slept together at a place near two trees growing entangled together, or a tree with branches in Y-shape resembling a human crotch. Sometimes they put a stone in the tree crotch. ③ Some women wore the undergarment worn by a woman when delivering a baby, and spent a night in a delivery room, feigning labor and delivery.

There were numerous objects and actions involved in the efforts of childless couples to have a child of their own, but the couple’s earnestness and sincerity were believed to be the most important factors. It was generally believed that one could even move heavenly deities if one was sincere enough and the expression of such religious mentality was the distinguishing characteristic of the gijauirye tradition.