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Winter Solstice Sacrificial Rite

Dongji gosa (Kor. 동지고사, Chin. 冬至告祀) refers to the rite observed on Dongji (Kor. 동지, Chin. 冬至, Winter Solstice). The rite consists of sprinkling red bean porridge in various parts of a house in order to keep malicious spirits from entering. The custom is also known as patjukje (Kor. 팥죽제) or dongji charye (Kor. 동지차례, Chin. 冬至茶禮), depending on the region. Dongji has the shortest day and longest night of the year, after which daylight hours gradually increase. In traditional Korea, Dongji was consie

Korean Seasonal Customs


A traditional holiday game pitting wrestlers against one another, passed down both as a form of entertainment during seasonal festivals, including Dano, Chuseok, and Baekjung, as well as serving as a physical fitness training sport for soldiers. The origin of the word ssireum is believed to be the Korean verb ssirunda, meaning to confront each other, comparing strength. Gakjeo, Baekhui, and Gakgi are other names for this classic game, all denoting the same meaning to confront and fight. The firs

Korean Folk Arts

Postnatal care

The tradition of postnatal care in which the mother of a new-born baby takes great care to avoid certain activities deemed harmful to the health and safety of her baby and herself. After childbirth, the mother needed to take great care to recover her physical and mental condition. The period of postnatal care varied, from three days, to seven days, to twenty-one days and forty-nine days, and generally corresponded with the period the taboo rope was hung outside the front gate to protect a newbor

Korean Rites of Passage

Seocheon Jeosanpareum Gilssam Nori

A festive custom imitating the process of mosi making, centered around the residents of Seocheon, Chungcheongnam-do Province, the heart of fine ramie fabric production since the Joseon dynasty, and joined by residents from eight different towns in the area. The Seocheon Jeosanpareum Gilssam Nori is an event created to promote the excellence of mosi (ramie fabric). Although the custom was contrived for the local industry, it has its own meaning and value as well, given that the way of life charac

Korean Folk Arts

Stone Stack

Doltap, or stone stacks, refer to elaborate conical cairns erected at village entrances as objects of worship believed to keep away bad fortunes and invite in the good. Stone stacks are generally observed in mountainous inland regions of South and North Chungcheong, North Jeolla, Gangwon and South Gyeongsang provinces, but are found on Jeju Island as well. They serve not only as guardians against diseases, evil forces, fire, and tiger attacks, but also as structures to supplement specific geogra

Korean Folk Beliefs

Ritual for Big Catch

Pungeoje is the term for rituals held in the coastal regions to pray for peace in the village, safety for the fishermen at sea, and a big catch. Byeolsingut and haesinje are other terms used to refer to this big catch ritual. Prayers for safety and a big catch are offered to the sea deity Yongwang (Dragon King), the procedures generally officiated by a shaman. Byeolsingut of the eastern and southern coasts; pungeoje from the island of Hwangdo off Anmyeondo on the western coast; and haesinje of U

Korean Folk Beliefs

Winnow Basket

Ki is a basket for winnowing grains and is used as a sorcery tool for fortunetelling or in rituals. Woven of bamboo or willow, a winnow basket measures between 50 to 70 centimeters in width and 70 to 100 centimeters in length. Its function of sifting grains from chaff is reinterpreted in folk belief as that of sorting out impurities and uncertainties, and thus used for problem-solving and decision-making. The most common uses of winnow baskets as a sorcery tool are for harvest divination and rai

Korean Folk Beliefs

Day of Awakening from Hibernation

The Gyeongchip (Kor. 경칩, Chin. 驚蟄, Day of Awakening from Hibernation), also known as Gyechip (Kor. 계칩, Chin. 啓蟄), is the third of the twenty-four solar terms and occurs on the 74th day after the winter solstice at which time the sun is at the ecliptic longitutde of 345 degrees. Gyeongchip falls on approximately March fifth on Gregorian calendar. When living things in the northern hemisphere awaken from their hibernation in early March, the continental anticyclone weakens, and the Korean peninsul

Korean Seasonal Customs
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