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Chilmeoridang Exorcism of Jeju Island

The exorcism rite Jeju Chilmeori Danggut, originating on Jeju Island, is held every year on the first and fourteenth days of the second lunar month, at a shrine named Chilmeori, located in Geonip-dong, Jeju. Chilmeoridang (Kor. 칠머리당) is a community shrine where the village’s guardian deity is worshipped. Such shrines are found in every village of Jeju island and are commonly known as bonhyangdang (Kor. 본향당), but this particular shrine derives its name from the name of the village where it is loc

Korean Seasonal Customs

Ten Kings Greeting Ritual

Siwangmaji, literally meaning, “greeting the Ten Kings, ” is a ritual for worshipping the Ten Kings of Myeongbu, where judgment takes place in the underworld. In the shamanic rituals of Jeju Island, “maji” is a ritual for greeting the gods as they make their descent to the human world, and siwangmaji is a greeting ritual for the Ten Kings (Siwang), rulers of the judgment point Myeongbu, who are enshrined at siwangdangkeul (Siwang Shrine), the second palace in the heavens. In other words, the rit

Korean Folk Beliefs

Ritual for Village Guardian Gods

Poje is the general term used for Confucian village rituals held on Jeju Island. Exact terms for these rituals can vary: When the worshipped god is Posinjiryeong (Tutelary God), the ritual is called poje, nongpoje or ipoje, which are the most widely used terms; when Isajisin (Village God of Land and Grains) is worshipped, the ritual is called isaje or dongsaje; and hyangje, maeulje, dongnetje are broader terms for referring to the rituals as general village rites. Poje is held on the day of Jeon

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

Grandmother Seolmundae

This oral myth from Jeju Island is about a goddess of immense size and strength named Seolmundaehalmang, who created the island by shoveling mud from the seabed. Some ancient records refer to this goddess as Samandugo or Seonmago, and oral variants of the name include Seolmanduhalmang, Seolmyeongjihalmang and Semyeongjuhalmang. In the beginning of the universe, in Tamna, lived Seolmundaehalmang, the biggest and the strongest being in the whole world. One day, as she was sleeping, the granny sat

Korean Folk Literature


This legend narrates the story of Ieo Island on Korea’s southern coast, which at one point in history was referred to as Scotra Rock, after the sinking of the British merchant vessel Scotra in nearby waters in 1900. A long time ago, a man got himself a concubine and went off to live on a deserted island. His wife pleaded to her father-in-law to build her a boat to go after them, and he went to Seonheul village (today a part of the city of Jeju on Jeju Island) to chop wood to build one. The wife,

Korean Folk Literature

Serpent Cave of Gimnyeong

The legend “Gimnyeongsagul, ” about the cave Sagul in the village of East Gimnyeong in Gujwa, Jeju Island, narrates the story of Seo Ryeon, a judge during the reign of King Jungjong of Joseon, who slayed a giant serpent that lived in the cave. To the east of Gimnyeong Village on Jeju Island was a huge cave in which lived a giant snake and the cave was called Baemgul, or Sagul, meaning Serpent Cave. Each year, the villagers held a grand ritual (keungut), offering a maiden to the snake as a sacrif

Korean Folk Literature

Ritual for Celestial God

Cheonje is a ritual for Cheonsin, a celestial god that has been worshipped since ancient times. Cheonsin worship deifies the sky itself or believes in the existence of a heavenly transcendental divinity. Variations of the name Cheonsin include Haneullim, Haneunim and Hananim, all meaning sky god; Chinjiwang, which is used on Jeju Island; Okwangsangje, or Pure August Jade Emperor, the name of the highest Taoist deity and ruler of the heavens; and Jeseokcheon, which originated from Buddhism. Celes

Korean Folk Beliefs
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