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Selection of Auspicious Date

Taegil, literally meaning, “to select a date, ” refers to the practice of identifying an auspicious date for a ritual or event, or an inauspicious date to be avoided, according to the principles of yin and yang and the Five Elements. Alternate terms include nalgarim (date sorting), bogil (date divination), chugil (inquiry of auspiciousness), chuil (date inquiry). Time elements are of crucial importance to human lives in Korean folk religion, and relying on the cosmological principles to seek out

Korean Folk Beliefs

Naming a child

Giving a name to a newborn baby by parents or others. In Korea, names are not just a term of address, they also hold magical meaning. Parents usually give their child a name representing their aspiration and wishes for the child. Once a name is given, it is to be called myriad times in the belief that it will bring about the child’s success, health, wealth and happiness through its meaning and sound. Therefore, it is important to give a name that is easy to pronounce, good to hear, and has good

Korean Rites of Passage

Marital harmony

The practice of predicting fortunes and interpreting the near future of people, a couple planning marriage in particular, via divination on the basis of their birth signs and the Four Pillars. The Chinese character, gung (宮) in the word gunghap (宮合) represents multiple rooms under the same roof, suggesting that gunghap is the union of two families. For some, the characters are also related with the question of how two mouths (口) achieve harmony (合) under the same roof (宀). Therefore, the term gu

Korean Rites of Passage

Setting the wedding date Lit. choosing auspicious date

Setting the wedding date by the bride’s family after receiving from the groom’s family saseong (Kor. 사성 Chin. 四星, box containing a note of the groom’s birth date, blue and red threads knotted together, some six yards of fabric for the bride’s dress). It is also called nalbaji (lit. receiving the date), napgil (Kor. 납길, Chin. 納吉, lit. receiving auspiciousness), or chugil (Kor. 추길, Chin. 諏吉, lit. choosing auspicious date). Setting the wedding date has been considered one of the most important form

Korean Rites of Passage

Longevity banquet

Rites for feasts on birthdays and other special occasions to celebrate a person’s longevity after reaching 60 years old. Suyeollye is rooted in the custom of respect for elders. Ancient documents before the Goryeo period (918-1392) say that banquets took place for the elderly at the state level, while records from the Joseon period (1392-1910) show that banquets celebrating longevity were held more frequently as they were in line with the Confucian ethics of filial piety. The birthdays that were

Korean Rites of Passage

Selection of an auspicious date

A series of actions for selection of an auspicious date and avoidance of an inauspicious date as a way to avoid the ominous and choose the good before holding an event. As temporal elements are very important in human life, various conditions are taken into account before selecting a date for an important event. Although they may vary depending on the times, important events include marriage, childbirth, mourning, moving a grave, starting a business, and building a house. However, such important

Korean Rites of Passage

Lit. seven-star board

A thin wooden board with seven holes in the shape of the Big Dipper (Bukduchilseong, Kor. 북두칠성, Chin. 北斗七星) to be placed at the bottom of gwan (Kor. 관, Chin. 棺, lit. coffin). The dead body is sometimes placed directly in a coffin but at other times, it is first tied on a wooden board called chilseongpan (Kor. 칠성판, Chin. 七星板, lit. seven-star board) and then placed in a coffin. Chilseongpan is made of pine wood, its length and width aligned with the size of the coffin. The board is approximately 1

Korean Rites of Passage
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