Korean folk belief
Korean folk belief
Korean folk belief
Between the Old and New Singugan (Kor. 신구간, Chin. 新舊間, lit. between the old and new) is the approximately one-week long period from the fifth day after the solar term Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, Great Cold) to the third day before the solar term Ipchun (Kor. 입춘, Chin. 立春, Beginning of Spring). On Jeju Island, this is believed to be the only time when one can move or repair one’s house without any harmful consequences. According to folk belief, during this period between Daehan, the last seasonal term….
Buddhist All Souls’ Day Baekjung (Kor. 백중, Chin. 百中, Buddhist All Soul’s Day) is a major summer folk festival falling on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month. By this time Korean farmers could take a brief period of rest after one of the busiest farming periods of the year. They usually spent the day refreshing themselves by enjoying food and drink, and playing games. The festival was also referred to by other names such as Baekjong (Kor. 백종, Chin. 百種, lit. Hundred Kinds), Jungwonil (Kor. 중원….
Cold Food Day Hansik (Kor. 한식, Chin. 寒食, lit. cold food) occurs on the 105th day after the winter solstice and approximately April fifth on the Gregorian calendar. It is one of the four major holidays in Korea, along with New Year’s Day, Dano and Chuseok. According to a Chinese custom, people refrained from using fire and ate cold food on this day. For this reason the day can also be referred to as Geumyeonil (Kor. 금연일, Chin. 禁烟日, lit. No Smoke Day), Suksik (Kor. 숙식, Chin. 熟食, lit. Cooked ….
Day of Watching Small Stars On the sixth day of the second lunar month, people in traditional Korea used to watch a group of small stars in the western sky and, based on their observations, tried to predict the outcome of harvest for the year ahead. The name of the day, jomsaenginal (Kor. 좀생이날), is a compound of the words jomsaengi (Kor. 좀생이) and nal (Kor.날). The former is used to designate the group of stars in the western sky, and the latter stands for “day.” The term jomsaengi and its variations, jom….
Double-three Day Samjinnal (Kor. 삼짇날, lit. double-three day) falls on the third day of the third lunar month. Three being a positive number in numerology, this date containing two threes was considered to be highly auspicious. Other names of the day, which also have the meaning of two threes, are Samjil (Kor. 삼질) and Samsaennal (Kor. 삼샛날). In addition, the day can be referred to as Yeojaui nal (Kor. 여자의 날, lit. Women’s Day) and “the Day of Swallows’ Returning from the South” (Kor. 강남갔던제비오는날)…..
Festival of the Fifth of the Fifth Month Dano (Kor. 단오, Chin. 端午, lit. first fifth) refers to the traditional holiday celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The first syllable in the name, dan, stands for “first” and o means “five”; hence the word can be translated literally as “the first fifth”. Dano has been a major holiday in Korea since early times as the day is believed to be filled with the positive energy yang. According to a Chinese history book of the 7th century, “Suishu” (Kor. 수서, Chin. 隋書,….
Great Full Moon Festival Referred to by various names such as Sangwon (Kor. 상원, Chin. 上元, lit. High Beginning), Ogiil (Kor. 오기일, Chin. 烏忌日, lit. Crown Memorial Day) and Daldo (Kor. 달도, Chin. 怛忉, lit. Sorrow and Anxiety), Jeongwol Daeboreum (Kor. 정월대보름, lit. Great Full Moon of the First Month) is a traditional folk festival held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Unlike the Lunar New Year’s Day, which was usually celebrated through family events, the Great Full Moon Festival ….
Harvest Festival Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕) refers to the harvest festival celebrated on the fifteenth day (the full moon day) of the eighth lunar month. Chuseok literally means “autumn evening,” and may be understood to mean the “autumn evening with the brightest moon.” This holiday is also known as Gabae (Kor. 가배, Chin. 嘉俳), Gabaeil (Kor. 가배일, Chin. 嘉俳日), Gawi (Kor. 가위), Hangawi (Kor. 한가위), Jungchu (Kor. 중추, Chin. 仲秋), Jungchujeol (Kor. 중추절, Chin. 仲秋節) or Jungchugajeol (Kor. 중추가절, Chin. 仲秋….
Holiday of the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month Jungyang refers to a date where the number of the lunar month and the day are the same and both are odd. Such days in fengshui are considered full of positive energy and include the third of the third month, the fifth of the fifth month, the seventh of the seventh month, and the ninth of the ninth month. Among these days, the ninth of the ninth month is considered the most important and is referred to as Jungyangjeol (Kor. 중양절, Chin. 重陽節, holiday of the ninth day of the ninth….
Horse Day Mallal (Kor. 말날, Chin. 午日, lit. Horse Day) refers to the first day of the tenth lunar month with a celestial stem meaning “horse.” Also known as Mail (Kor. 마일, Chin. 馬日), this day is recognized as an equine appreciation day. Historically, it was associated with the custom of placing rice cakes coated with mashed red beans, known as pat-tteok (Kor. 팥떡), in front of a stable and praying for the health of the horses. People also paid homage to the horses by offering special trea….
Hunting Day Nabil (Kor. 납일, Chin. 臘日, lit. hunting day) designates the third day with the celestial stem mi (Kor. 미일, Chin. 未日) after Dongji (Kor. 동지, Chin. 冬至, Winter Solstice). It is also known as nappyeong (Kor. 납평, Chin. 臘平), gapyeong (Kor. 가평, Chin. 嘉平), gapyeongjeol (Kor. 가평절, Chin. 嘉平節), or naphyangil (Kor. 납향일, Chin. 臘享日). In the Buyeo Kingdom (?-494), there existed a custom called yeonggo (Kor. 영고, Chin. 迎鼓) in which sacrifices were made to the heavens on a day in the twelfth lu….
Lunar New Year Seol (Kor. 설), or the Korean New Year, is the most important traditional holiday in Korea. On this day, Koreans celebrate the beginning of the year by the lunar calendar. Seol is known by many other names, including Wonil (Kor. 원일, Chin. 元日, lit. The First Day), Wondan (Kor. 원단, Chin. 元旦, lit. The First Morning), Wonjeong (Kor. 원정, Chin. 元正, lit. The First Month), Wonsin (Kor. 원신, Chin. 元新, lit. The First New), Wonjo (Kor. 원조, Chin. 元朝, lit. The First Morning), Jeongjo (Kor. ….
Lunar New Year’s Eve Seotdal Geumeum (Kor. 섣달그믐) refers to the Lunar New Year’s Eve and is also known as Semit (Kor. 세밑, lit. year bottom), Nunsseop Seneun Nal (Kor. 눈썹 세는 날, lit. day when eyebrows turn white), Jeil (Kor. 제일, Chin. 除日, lit. day of riddance), Seje (Kor. 세제, Chin. 歲除, lit. year riddance), Sejin (Kor. 세진, Chin. 歲盡, lit. yearend), or Jeseok (Kor. 제석, Chin. 除夕). The name Jeseok, literally meaning an “evening of riddance,” signifies the act of disposing of the old calendar and obtainin….
Shakyamuni’s Birthday Chopail (Kor. 초파일, Chin. 初八日) is the Birthday of Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. The day can is referred to as Bucheonim Osinnal (Kor. 부처님 오신 날, Buddha’s Advent Day), Bultanil (Kor. 불탄일, Chin. 佛誕日, Buddha’s Birthday), Yokburil (Kor. 욕불일, Chin. 浴佛日, Buddha Bathing Day) and Seoktanil (Kor. 석탄일, Chin. 釋誕日, Day of Shakyamuni’s Birth). The most common name of this day, Sawol Chopail (Kor. 사월 초파일), meaning “the eighth of the fourth lunar month”, is also the date on which the h….
Son Dol’s Day Sondollal (Kor. 손돌날, Chin. 孫乭日, lit. Son Dol’s Day) occurs on the twentieth of the tenth lunar month. This day commemorates the tragic death of the ferryman Son Dol. The day is also referred to as Son Dolbaengi Jugeun Nal (Kor. 손돌뱅이죽은날, lit. Day When Son Dol Died) or Sonsagong Jugeun Nal (Kor. 손사공죽은날, lit. Day When Ferryman Son Died). Many old records of Korean holiday customs, including the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 184….
The First Day of the Second Lunar Month The first day of the second lunar month (Iwol Choharu, Kor. 이월 초하루) was traditionally celebrated as a holiday. This holiday is also known as Meoseumnal (Kor. 머슴날), Nobiil (Kor. 노비일), Adeurennal (Kor. 아드렛날) and Hariadeurennal (Kor. 하리아드렛날), all meaning “Slaves’/Servants’ Day”. The festivity was originally referred to as Junghwajeol (Kor. 중화절, Chin. 中和節), named after measurement sticks (referred to as junghwacheok, Kor. 중화척, Chin. 中和尺), which the king used to bestow upon his se….
The Seventh of the Seventh Month Chilseok (Kor. 칠석, Chin. 七夕, lit. Seventh Evening) is a folk festival celebrated on the seventh of the seventh lunar month. According to a folk tale, every year on this day Gyeonu (Kor. 견우, Chin. 牽牛, Ox Herder) meets his lover Jingnyeo (Kor. 직녀, Chin. 織女, Weaving Maid). The two characters are thought to live on the opposite sides of the heavenly kingdom ruled by the Jade Emperor. The emperor cherished the young herder’s sincerity and diligence, and married him off to his gran….
Three Dog Days Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏) refers to the three days in the sixth and seventh lunar months, which are considered to be the hottest days of the year. The exact dates differ each year and are calculated based on the relation to the solar terms and celestial stems. The three Dog Days are Chobok (Kor. 초복, Chin. 初伏, lit. First Dog Day), Jungbok (Kor. 중복, Chin. 中伏, lit. Middle Dog Day), and Malbok (Kor. 말복, Chin. 末伏, lit. Last Dog Day) and occur at ten-day intervals.The concept of t….
Twelve Zodiac Days Sibijiil (Kor. 십이지일, Chin. 十二支日, Twelve Zodiac Days) refers to the first twelve days of the Lunar New Year that are represented by the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, i.e., rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. They can also be called Jeongcho Sibijiil (Kor. 정초십이지일, Chin. 正初十二支日, twelve zodiac days of the beginning of the year) or simply Jimseungnal (Kor. 짐승날, lit. animal days). The zodiac calendar is a separate system that does not c….
Water Festival of the Sixth Lunar Month Yudu (Kor. 유두, Chin. 流頭) is a traditional summer festival that falls on the fifteenth of the sixth lunar month. The festival is also referred to as Sodu (Kor. 소두, Chin. 梳頭) or Sudu (Kor. 수두, Chin. 水頭) and the names are all related with the customs of washing one’s hair and taking a bath.The term Yudu, which literally means “immersing head in flowing [water]”, is an abbreviation of dongnyu sudu mogyok (Kor. 동류수두목욕, Chin. 東流水頭沐浴, lit. washing hair and body in waters f….
Wind God’s Day The first day of the second lunar month (Iwol Choharu, Kor. 이월초하루) often was referred to as Yeongdeungnal (Kor. 영등날, Wind God’s Day), in reference to Grandma Yeongdeung, a goddess who was believed to descend to the human world from her heavenly dwelling. Grandma Yeongdeung was an important divinity for fishing and agriculture as she controlled the wind. The day of her descent, depending on the region, is also known as Yeongdeung Halmeoninal (Kor. 영등할머니날, lit. Grandma Yeongdeu….