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Death-Appeasing Underworld Entry Ritual

Ogugut is a shamanic ritual to pray for the rebirth of the dead in the heavens by appeasing the deceased and guiding its spirit to the underworld. Variations of the term include ogu, ogwi, ogwisaenamgut and keungut. The ritual is observed mostly in the south coast regions of Gyeongsang Province and along the east coast. Belonging to the same category of rituals for appeasing the spirit of the dead and praying for the well-being of the living, are jinogigut, the underworld entry ritual from the S

Korean Folk Beliefs

Shrine for General Choe Yeong

This is a shrine is dedicated to General Choe Yeong (1316-1388), a commander and loyal subject of late Goryeo (918-1392). General Choe Yeong was revered for military distinction including his defense of the kingdom against Japanese invasion. He was however defeated by mutiny leader Yi Seong-gye, who went on to found Joseon (1392-1910) and beheaded. Because he met a tragic death while trying to defend the declining Goryeo, Choe came to be deified and worshipped as a shamanic god. Shrines dedicate

Korean Folk Beliefs

Korean Dominoes

Golpae (Kor. 골패, Chin. 骨牌, Korean dominoes) is a traditional game played with rectangular blocks with dots of different shapes and numbers on their face. Golpae is also known as gangpae (Kor. 강패, Chin. 江牌), apae (Kor. 아패, Chin. 牙牌) or hopae (Kor. 호패, Chin. 號牌). Golpae blocks that are made from animal bone are called minpae (Kor. 민패), and those made from white bone and black bamboo are referred to as samopae (Kor. 사모패, Chin. 紗帽牌). In order to make golpae blocks, pieces of ox or deer bone the size

Korean Seasonal Customs


Sogeum, or salt, is used in various rituals for household gods including dragon king feeding (yongwangmeogigi) or fire prevention rituals (hwajaemagi) as a sorcery tool with purifying, evil-chasing, and bad fortune-repelling capacities. The use of salt is widespread, both as a sacrifice and as a sorcery tool. In South Gyeongsang Province, when a baby is born, a ritual table for Samsin (Goddess of Childbearing) is arranged in the mother’s room. Seven days after birth, a hand-rubbing ritual (bison

Korean Folk Beliefs

Cock Fight

People of all ages in traditional Korea were fond of cock fights which pitted two trained roosters against each other. Currently known mostly as tugye (Kor. 투계, Chin. 鬪鷄) rooster fights are hosted as part of folk festivals or events. Although widely spread across Korea, rooster fights have been particularly popular in the southeastern part of the country. According to the “Rural Pastimes of Joseon” (Kor. 조선의 향토오락, Jap. 朝鮮の鄕土娛樂, 1941) by Murayama Jijun, there were eight places to hold rooster fig

Korean Seasonal Customs

Card Gambling

Tujeon (Kor. 투전, Chin. 鬪錢/鬪牋/投牋) is a card game played with long rectangular numbered cards decorated with animal motifs and characters on one side. The cards are made with oiled paper and are 10 to 20cm long and approximately the width of a finger. A deck can consist of 25, 40, 50, 60 or 80 cards with the 40-card deck being the most widely used. There are a variety of games that use tujeon cards; in most of these games the player who accumulates the highest-numbered cards wins. So

Korean Seasonal Customs
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