Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Country(ies): Republic of Korea
- Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut
The Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut is a ritual held in the second lunar month to pray for calm seas, an abundant harvest and a plentiful sea catch. The rites held at Chilmeoridang in the village of Gun-rip are representative of similar ceremonies held throughout the island of Jeju in the Republic of Korea. Village shamans perform a series of rituals to the goddess of the winds (Grandmother Yeondeung), the Dragon King Yongwang and mountain gods. The Yeondeung Welcome Rite includes a ceremony to call the gods, prayers for a good catch, and a three-act play to entertain the ancestral gods; the Yeondeung Farewell Rite two weeks later includes offerings of drinks and rice cakes, a ceremony to welcome the Dragon King, fortune telling with millet seeds, and the launching of a straw boat into the sea by the village’s senior men. As the goddess Yeondeung departs on the fifteenth day, marking the arrival of spring, she sows seeds and calms the troubled waters. Besides the shamans, the Yeongdeunggut is primarily supported by the female divers and ship owners who prepare food and offer sacrifices. Both a seasonal rite and a cultural festival, this ritual is a distinctive embodiment of Jeju identity and an expression of the villagers’ respect for the sea on which their livelihood depends.
Decision 4.COM 13.66
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: The Yeongdeunggut ritual offers a sense of identity to the inhabitants of Chilmeoridang village and holds special significance to Jeju Island where it is transmitted from generation to generation;
- R.2: Its inscription on the Representative List will contribute to greater national and international visibility of intangible cultural heritage and the element’s recognition as a cultural symbol and living example of the significant and creative relationship between human beings and nature;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures have been proposed with support from the State, private and public institutions, and tradition bearers committed to guarantee the element’s viability through the construction of training centres and the development of educational programmes to instruct the local population in the meaning of the element;
- R.4: The element has been nominated with the participation of the community, including appropriate bodies and individual practitioners, whose free, prior and informed consent has been given in writing;
- R.5: The element is designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division of the Cultural Heritage Administration.
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