[A-Z April Blogging] [K] Korean folk religion

Korean folk religion is, similarly to Chinese folk religion, a syncretic concretion of several religions present at the same time in a given culture. However, where Chinese folk religion mostly draws its distinctive traits from Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, Korean folk religion mostly draws its characteristics from Shamanism and Buddhism; it also incorporates many concepts from Daoism (geomancy, wŭxíng, yīnyáng...), but not the Daoist deities themselves. Just like Chinese folk religion, Korean folk religion also contemplates ancestor worship, and many agrarian festivals linked to the Chinese calendar.

The most frequently-worshipped gods of Korean folk religion, for instance, Sanshin/Shānshén and Chilseongshin/Qīxīngshén, are two Shamanic deities. So are the Gashin/Jiāshén, a branch of deities believed to protect the various objects and rooms of the house.

A distinctive trait of Korean folk religion is the relative importance of animal worship, e.g., snakes might be worshipped in a village because they eat rats, which are a pest because they eat stored grain. Such animals would always be worshipped as anthropomorphic animals, tough: deities are always anthropomorphic.

A familiar sight in the vicinity of a Korean village is the series of jangseung/chángchéng (wooden totem poles) standing guard to mark the village boundaries and to frighten away evil spirits. They are also worshipped as village tutelary deities.

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