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Korean shamanism

Korean shamanism

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Korean shamanism, today known as Muism (Mugyo, "religion of the Mu") or sometimes Sinism (Shingyo, "religion of the gods", with shin being the Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

 character derivative of the Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 shen
Shen (Chinese religion)
Shen is a keyword in Chinese philosophy, Chinese religion, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.-Pronunciation:Shén is the Modern Standard Chinese pronunciation of 神 "spirit; god, deity; spiritual, supernatural; awareness, consciousness etc". Reconstructions of shén in Middle Chinese Shen is a...

), encompasses a variety of indigenous religious
Ethnic religion
Ethnic religion may include officially sanctioned and organized civil religions with an organized clergy, but they are characterized in that adherents generally are defined by their ethnicity, and conversion essentially equates to cultural assimilation to the people in question. Contrasted to this...

 beliefs and practices of the Korean people
Korean people
The Korean people are an ethnic group originating in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. Koreans are one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous groups in the world.-Names:...

 and the Korean area
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. In contemporary South Korea, the most used term is Muism and a shaman is known as a mudang . The role of the mudang, usually a woman, is to act as intercessor between a god or gods and human beings.

Women are enlisted by those who want the help of the spirit world
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

. Shamans hold gut, or services, in order to gain good fortune for clients, cure illnesses by exorcising lost spirits that cling to people, or propitiate local or village gods. Such services are also held to guide the spirit of a deceased person to heaven.

Koreans, like other East Asians, have traditionally been eclectic rather than exclusive in their religious commitments. Their religious outlook has not been conditioned by a single, exclusive faith, and even though many Koreans converted to Buddhism when it was introduced in the country, the influence of Muism was still strong even among Buddhists. This changed during the long period of Korean history in which Confucian dynasties tried to suppress all religions, during the later colonial period, when Christian missionaries demonised mudang and Muist followers, and since the significant growth of Christianity in South Korea
Christianity in Korea
The practice of Christianity in Korea revolves around two of its largest branches, Protestantism and Catholicism, accounting for 8.6 million and 5.1 million members respectively. Roman Catholicism was first introduced during the late Joseon Dynasty period...

 between the 1960s and the 1990s. However, the latest years have seen a startling resurgence of Muism in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, where it is practised by circa 8% of the population and it has more than 300.000 ministering mudang. In North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 roughly 16% of the population is Muist.

Korean shamanism is distinguished by its seeking to solve human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 problems through a meeting of humanity and the spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

s. This can be seen clearly in the various types of gut that are still widely observed. Korean shamans are similar in many ways to those found in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

. They also resemble the yuta found on the Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

, in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Jeju Island is also a center of Korean Shamanism. Muism has exerted influence on the bases of some of the Korean new religions, such as Cheondoism
Cheondoism
Cheondoism or Chondoism is a 20th-century Korean religious movement, based on the 19th century Donghak movement founded by Choe Je-u that had its origins in the peasant rebellions which arose starting in 1812 during the Joseon Dynasty...

 and Jeungism.

According to various sociological studies
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 the strong similarity and convergence of native Korean Shamanic mythos
Mythos
Mythos may refer to:* Mythology, the study of myths, or to a body of myths* Mythos , the term used by Aristotle in his Poetics for the plot of an Athenian tragedy- Games and comics :...

 and the Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 core ones have favoured the spread of Christianity in South Korea, and even shaped the intimate features of the Korean Christian approach.

Origins



Belief in a world inhabited by spirits is probably the oldest form of Korean religious life, dating back to prehistoric times.

Shamanism has its roots in ancient, land-based cultures, dating at least as far back as 40,000 years. The shaman was known as “magician, medicine man, psychopomp, mystic and poet” (Eliade, 1974). What set him apart from other healers or priests was his ability to move at will into trance states. During a trance, the shaman’s soul left his body and travelled to other realms, where helping spirits guided him in his work. The shaman provided healing on many levels; physical, psychological and spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

. The work of the shaman was based on the holistic model, which took into consideration, not only the whole person, but that person’s interaction with his world, both inner and outer. The soul was considered the place of life breath, where essence resided, and any physical illness was inextricably linked with sickness of the soul. Illness of the mind had to do with soul loss, intrusion, possession.

There is a rather unorganized pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

 of many gods, spirits, and ghosts, ranging from the "god generals" who rule the different quarters of heaven to mountain spirits (sansin). This pantheon also includes gods who inhabit trees, sacred caves, and piles of stones, as well as earth spirits, the tutelary gods of households and villages, mischievous goblins, and the ghosts of persons who in many cases met violent or tragic ends. These spirits are said to have the power to influence or to change the fortunes of living men and children.

The rites themselves underwent a number of changes through the Silla
Silla
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

 and Goryeo
Goryeo
The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which came to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392...

 periods. Even during the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

 which was heavily Confucian
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

, shamanistic rites persisted. In the past such shamanistic rite
Rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

s included agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 rites, such as prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

s for abundant harvest.

With a shift away from agriculture in modern Korea this has largely been lost, and modern-day mudang are more oriented to the fulfillment of the spiritual needs of urban people.

Place in society


Many scholars regard Korean shamanism as less a religion than a "medicine" in which the spirits are manipulated in order to achieve human ends. There is no notion of salvation or moral and spiritual perfection, at least for the ordinary believers in spirits. The shaman is a professional who is consulted by clients whenever the need is felt. Traditionally, shamans had low social status and were members of the ch'onmin (천민) class. This discrimination has continued into modern times.

Animistic
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 beliefs are strongly associated with the culture of fishing villages and are primarily a phenomenon found in rural communities. Shamans also treat the ills of city people, however, especially recent migrants from the countryside who find adjustment to an impersonal urban life stressful.^^

Revival as cultural society



The government has discouraged belief in shamanism as superstition and for many years minimized its persistence in Korean life. Yet in a climate of growing nationalism and cultural self-confidence, the dances, songs, and incantations that compose the 'gut' have come to be recognized as an important aspect of Korean culture.

Beginning in the 1970s, rituals that formerly had been kept out of foreign view began to resurface, and occasionally even the manager of a Western-style hotel or other executive could even be seen attending a shamanistic exorcism ritual in the course of opening a new branch in Seoul. Some of these aspects of 'gut' have been designated valuable cultural properties that should be preserved and passed on to future generations.

The future of shamanism itself was uncertain in the late 1980s. Observers believed that many of its functions in the future probably will be performed by the psychiatric profession as the government expands mental health treatment facilities. Given the uncertainty of social, economic, and political conditions, however, it appears certain that shamans will find large numbers of clients for some time to come.

Types of mudang



Mudang can be categorized into two basic archetypes: sessǔmu, who inherit the right to perform the shamanistic rituals and kangshinmu, who are initiated into their mudang status through a ceremony. Sessŭmu historically lived in the southern part of the Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

, while kangshimu were found throughout the peninsula and contiguous areas inhabited by Koreans, but were mostly concentrated in the north (modern day North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

) and the contiguous areas of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and the central part of the peninsula around the Han River
Han River (Korea)
The Han River is a major river in South Korea and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula after the Amnok, Duman, and Nakdong rivers. It is formed by the confluence of the Namhan River , which originates in Mount Daedeok, and the Bukhan River , which originates on the slopes of Mount...

.

Kangshinmu (강신무; 降神巫)


Kangshinmu are historically found throughout Korea, but are especially concentrated in the central and northern regions of the peninsula and in the lands contiguous to the northern part of the peninsula. The essential characteristic of the kangshinmu is that she becomes one with a god or spirit as part of her ceremony. There are two types of kangshinmu: one shares its name with the general Korean word for shaman, mudang; the other is called the myǒngdu.

A person becomes a kangshinmu by participating in an initiation ceremony known as a naerim-gunt, during which she undergoes a state known as a shinbyeong (. The kangshinmu-initiate is said to be possessed by a spirit during the ceremony. The act of possession is said to be accompanied by physical pain and psychosis
Psychosis
Psychosis means abnormal condition of the mind, and is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality"...

. Believers would assert that the physical and mental symptoms are not subject to medical treatment, but may only be cured through receipt of and full communion with the spirit.

A mudang is a type of shaman that has become possessed by a god, called a momju. Mudang perform fortune telling using their spiritual powers derived from their possession. They preside over a gut involving song and dance. A subcategory of this type, called sǒnmudang or posal, are thought to have power through a spiritual experience, but are not considered to worthy to preside over an orthodox gut. Certain shamans in this category are male and are called paksu.

Myǒngdu differ from the basic type of mudang in that they receive the spirit of a dead person (usually a young child relative of the Myǒngdu) rather than being possessed by a god. The myǒngdu invites the spirit to a shrine
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

 in her dwelling. Myǒngdu are found primarily in the Honam
Honam
Honam is a region coinciding with the former Jeolla Province in what is now South Korea. Today, the term refers to North and South Jeolla Provinces....

 area of Korea.

Seseummu (세습무; 世襲巫)


Seseummu, found in the area south of the Han River
Han River (Korea)
The Han River is a major river in South Korea and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula after the Amnok, Duman, and Nakdong rivers. It is formed by the confluence of the Namhan River , which originates in Mount Daedeok, and the Bukhan River , which originates on the slopes of Mount...

, have their status as shamans pass down through family bloodlines. Two types of mudang are considered seseummu: shimbang and tang'ol.

Shimbang are similar to the kangshimu types of mudang in that the godhead and importance of spirituality are emphasized. However, unlike with kangshimu, the right to conduct ceremonies is hereditary. Moreover, a shimbang differs from a kangshimu in that their bodies are not possessed by spirits or gods during her gut. Rather, the shimbang contacts the god through a medium (mujǒmgu) and does not become one with the god. In addition, the shimbang does not maintain a shrine.

Tang'ol are a type of mudang found mostly in the southernmost areas of the Korean peninsula and especially in the Yeongnam
Yeongnam
Yeongnam is the name of a region that coincides with the former Gyeongsang Province in what is now South Korea....

 area (Gyeongsang-do
Gyeongsang
Gyeongsang was one of the eight provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongsang was located in the southeast of Korea....

) and the Honam
Honam
Honam is a region coinciding with the former Jeolla Province in what is now South Korea. Today, the term refers to North and South Jeolla Provinces....

 area (Jeolla-do
Jeolla
Jeolla was a province in southwestern Korea, one of the historical Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. It consisted of the modern South Korean provinces of North Jeolla, South Jeolla and the Special City of Gwangju as well as Jeju Island...

). The tang'ol of Honam each had individual districts (tang'olp'an) in which they had the exclusive right to perform certain shamanistic ceremonies or gut. The gut performed by the tang'ol involve song and dance that serve to entertain a god or goddess, but there is interaction with or channeling of the god. Both the rights of succession and the ceremonies themselves have been systematized through the years so that they now bear the characteristics of a religious institution. Unlike other types of mudang, tang'ol do not receive a god as part of an initiation ceremony. A tang'ol will not have a shrine in her home and will not generally have a defined belief system in a particular god.

Shinbyeong (spirit sickness)


The central feature of a shaman's initiation is her affliction with an illness known as a shinbyeong. This is also called the "spirit sickness" or "self-loss" and characterized by a loss of appetite, insomnia, visual and auditory hallucination
Hallucination
A hallucination, in the broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid,...

s. A ritual called a naerim-gut cures this illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

, which also serves to induct the new shaman.

Symptoms


The symptoms of a mudang's shinbyeong differ, depending on the mudang's cultural background as well as her surrounding environment. For example, in the most basic, frequent type of shinbyeong, the initiate is afflicted with the characteristic symptoms without apparent cause. The mudang cannot eat and becomes weak physically and psychologically. In another type of shinbyeong, these basic symptoms are preceded by physical illness. In yet another, the shinbyeong is caused by a psychotic episode. In a type of shinbyeong that is relatively rare, the mudang's mental state becomes weakened by an external shock. Another rarely occurring type of shinbyeong, called the "dream appearance type," the shinbyeong is triggered by a dream in which the mudang sees a god, spirit or unusual occurrence, accompanied by a revelation.

The symptoms of the shinbyeong can last a surprisingly long time: an average of 8 years and as many as 30. Most mudang have little appetite during their shinbyeong, some having indigestion and partaking in only a limited diet. The body of the mudang becomes weak and is subject to pain and cramping accompanied by bloody stool in some cases. Physical symptoms progress to include mental illness. The initiate has a generally restless mind and is said to experience dreams in which she communicates with gods or spirits. Eventually dreams and reality become blurred and the mudang suffers hallucinations. In some cases, the mental illness becomes so extreme that the mudang leaves home and wanders through mountains and rice fields. The symptoms are said not to be susceptible to normal medical treatment and such treatment is believed to only exacerbate them. Rather, the symptoms are to be cured through the gangshinje, a type of gut in which the mudang receives her god or spirit.

Religious aspects


In the tradition of muism, the shinbyeong is considered a structured religious experience demonstrating the vertical connection between god and humanity and showing that "god in some form exists in human consciousness." It is a form of revelation that causes the shaman to become one with god and, consequently, change her patterns of thought. The shinbyeong is dissociated from reality and enters a higher form of consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

.

Rituals or gut


The gut is a shamanistic rite where the shaman offers a sacrifice to the spirits. Through singing and dancing the shaman begs the spirits to intercede in the fortunes of the humans in question. The shaman wears a very colourful costume and normally speaks in trance. During a gut a shaman changes their costume several times.

There are three elements of a gut. Firstly there are the spirits as the object of folk beliefs. Secondly there are the believers who pray to those spirits. Finally there is the shaman mediating between the two.

The actual form of gut varies between regions. The plot of the shamanistic rite depends largely on the objective of the ceremony. The individual character and ability of the shaman, finally, adds fine differences in style.

The main variations of gut are naerim-gut, dodang-gut and ssitgim-gut. The shamans can either be hereditary or spirit-possessed.

Naerim-gut


This gut is an initiation rite. As part of the rite, someone becomes a shaman by being possessed by a spirit. The ritual serves to cure the shinbyeong and also to induct the new shaman.

Dodang-gut


This communal rite is common in central provinces in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. Its aim is to wish for the well-being and prosperity of a particular village or hamlet. This rite is normally held annually or once every few years. It is always held either around the New Year or in spring or autumn. The dodang-gunt is distinguished by giving prominent roles to the female mudang.

Ssitgim-gut


This rite is used to cleanse the spirit of a deceased person. Since ancient times there is a Korean belief that when somebody dies, their body cannot enter the world of the dead because of the impurity of their spirit. The ssitgim-gunt washes away this impurity. It is observed mainly in the provinces in the south west of South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

.

Chaesu-gut


During the sequential performance of the twelve segments that comprise a typical chaesugunt, more than half of the costumes the mansin wears are male. The most interactive and dynamic portions of the gunt usually occur during the mansin's possession by the pyolsang (spirits of the other world) and the greedy taegam (the overseer), which require male costumes. This cross-dressing serves several purposes. First, since the mansin is often possessed by both male and female spirits and can thus become an icon of the opposite sex, it is reasonable that she use the attire of both sexes. But in a context in which women are publicly demeaned, where their symbolic value is reduced by strong Confucian
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 ideology, the female mansin's cross-dressing becomes complex and multi-functional.

In semiotic terms, the costume is an icon for the person or the spirit it represents. The mansin in the costume assumes the role of that icon, thereby becoming a female signifying a male; she is a cross-sex icon about 75% of the time during a typical kut. In the context of the gut, the mansin is a sexually liminal being; by signifying a man, she not only has access to the male authority in the Confucian order, she provides the female audience an opportunity to interact with that authority in ways that would, in a public context, be unthinkable. Her performance is often a parody of the male authority figures; she often makes off-color jokes and ribald comments, and argues with the audience.

Regional Shaman Rites


The traditional rites are not linked to the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

. They are linked either to a particular event, such as a death, or the lunar calendar
Lunar calendar
A lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. A common purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar. A feature of the Islamic calendar is that a year is always 12 months, so the months are not linked with the seasons and drift each solar year by 11 to...

.
Name Purposes Region
Hamgyeong-do Manmukgut Performed three days after a death in order to open a passage way to the land of the dead. Hamgyeong-do
Pyeongan-do Darigut This gut is dedicated to the spirit of a deceased person and facilitates the entry into the land of the dead. Its procedures resemble some Buddhist procedures. Pyeongan-do
Hwanghae-do Naerimgut This initiation rite is a traditional nerium-gunt. Hwanghae-do
Hwanghae-do Jinogwigut This gut is performed for the dead. It guides to paradise by salvation of angry spirits. Hwanghae-do
Ongjin Baeyeonsingut
Seohaean baeyeonsingut
Seohaean baeyeonsingut is a shamanistic exorcism ritual that takes place on top of a boat in the Korea's West Coast region. It is performed to the gods to ask for abundant catches of fish at sea...

 
This rite is a fishermen's rite in honour of the dragon king of the sea. Its purpose is wishing for abundant catch and communal peace all year round. Hwanghae-do
Yangju Sonorigut This is a cattle worship rite. It is performed for good harvests, good luck and prosperity of the local community. It is one of the most sophisticated shamanistic performances in Korea. Yangju, Gyeonggi
Seoul Danggut This gut is for peace and abundant harvest. Mt. Jeongbalsan, Dapsimni- dong, Sinnae- dong, Mt. Bonghwasan, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

Seoul Jinogwigut This rite is for the dead, to prepare passage way to the land of the dead. It is supposed to lead the deceased person to paradise in 49 days after death. This goes back to Taoist beliefs that every person has seven souls, one of which ascends to heaven every seven days. Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

Gyeonggi-do Dodanggut This rite is held every second month of the lunar calendar. It wards off evil spirits from a community. Well-being to the villagers is induced by worshipping the tutelary grandparents at the tutelary shrines. Dingmak area, Jangmal area in Bucheon
Bucheon
Bucheon is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. It is sandwiched between Incheon and Seoul. Manufacturing operations are located in the city.Bucheon promotes itself as the cultural centre of the Seoul Metropolitan Area...

, Gyeonggi
Gangneung Danogut This rite is a large-scale gut. It involves dozens of shamans praying to the mountain deity for communal safety from wild animals. There are also prayers for abundant crops and catches of fish. Masked dance dramas and colourful folk games surround this rite. Gangneung
Gangneung
Gangneung is a city in Gangwon-do, on the east coast of South Korea. It has a population of 229,869 . Gangneung is the economic centre of the Yeongdong region of eastern Gangwon Province. Gangneung has many tourist attractions, like Jeongdongjin, one of the most famous towns in Korea...

, Gangwon-do
Gangwon-do (South Korea)
Gangwon-do is a province of South Korea, with its capital at Chuncheon. Before the division of Korea in 1945, Gangwon and its North Korean neighbour Kangwŏn formed a single province.-History:...

Eunsan Byeolsingut This rite is dedicated to the tutelary spirits of the villages. It includes a struggle of General Boksin and the reverend priest Dochim who recovered the sovereignty of the Baekje Kingdom. Part of the rite is held before guardian totem poles. Eunsan- ri, Buyeo- gun, South Chungcheong
Suyongpo Sumanggut This gut is dedicated to persons who died at sea and leads them to the land of the dead. Yeongil- gun, North Gyeongsang
Gangsa-ri Beomgut This communal gut is held once every three years. Shamans pray for the protection from tigers, abundant catch at sea and communal peace. Gangsa-ri, Yeongil-gun, North Gyeongsang
Geojedo Byeolsingut This rite is held at every fishing village in order to pray for abundant catch and communal peace. Geoje, South Gyeongsang
Tongyeong Ogwisaenamgut This gut is held to console the spirits of a person drowned at sea and leading to the land of the dead. Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang
Wido Ttibaegut This is a fishermen's rite and involves many tutelary spirits wishing for good fortune Wido Island, Buan-gun, North Jeolla
Jindo Ssitgimgut This rite helps cleansing the spirits of deceased persons. It is also performed at the first anniversary of a death. Jindo Islands, Jangsando Islands, South Jeolla
Jejudo Singut This rite helps a shaman being promoted to a higher rank of shamanship. This is also an initiation rite, and a shaman holds this gut three times in their life. Jeju
Jeju-do
Jeju-do is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946...

Jejudo Yeongdeunggut This rite is held in the second month of the lunar calendar. It is held to worship the Yeongdeungsin, the goddess of the sea, who will grant safety and abundant catches. Coastal areas, Jeju
Jeju-do
Jeju-do is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946...

Jejudo Muhongut This rite is held to cleanse the spirits of someone drowned at sea and guide this person to the land of the dead. Jeju
Jeju-do
Jeju-do is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946...


See also

  • Culture of Korea
    Culture of Korea
    The current political separation of North and South Korea has resulted in divergence in modern Korean cultures; nevertheless, the traditional culture of Korea is historically shared by both states.-Dance:...

  • Jangseung
    Jangseung
    A jangseung or village guardian is a Korean totem pole usually made of wood. Jangseungs were traditionally placed at the edges of villages to mark for village boundaries and frighten away demons...

  • List of Korea-related topics
  • Religion in Korea
    Religion in Korea
    Religion in Korea encompasses a number of different traditions. Traditional Buddhism, Mugyo with a background of Korean Confucianism and later Christianity all play a role in Korea's religious tradition...


External links