The New Lunar Year: Important Rituals You Need to Know

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Jeju Sin-gwa-se-gut, or first ritual of the new (lunar) year, is held to honor a village’s patron gods; the shaman entreats the gods for a propitious year, performs divination to receive the gods’ response, and facilitates a blessing for the village leaders. Devotees bring bountiful offerings which typically include fruit (three colors: apple, pear, and orange are common), grilled fish, a bowl of rice or stack of glutinous rice cakes, and a hard-boiled egg, as well as libation.

Songdang Village ritual, Shaman Jung Tae-jin presiding.

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Songdang villagers’ offerings, beneath spirit-tree and before spirit-house.SAMSUNGWaheul Village ritual, Shaman Kim Sun Ok presiding.

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Blessing the leaders of Waheul Village.SAMSUNGOfferings of Waheul villagers.

Dr. Anne Hilty
Dr. Anne Hilty is a Cultural Health Psychologist with a focus on the interplay of Eastern and Western theories of mental health as well as the mind-body connection. Her grounding is in the fields of cultural, transpersonal, and health psychology; she is additionally influenced by classical Chinese medicine, somatic psychology, and Asian shamanic traditions. Originally from the city of New York, Dr. Hilty lives on bucolic Jeju Island in South Korea, having previously lived in Seoul and Hong Kong.
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