It’s Our Birthday & We’ll Die if We Want To

The podcast is one year old! We break down the year and discuss Korean first birthday traditions, folklore, and spirits. We also regale mysterious births in Korean history.

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Music by Soraksan

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NOTES

  • It’s our birthday! Dark Side is a year old. Thanks
  • Some stats 
    • 53 episodes (including this one)
    • 17,300 downloads
    • Cho Doosoon most downloaded episode
  • Our favourite episodes
    • Shawn: Exorcism, Korean Folktale Types
    • Joe: Episodes that made me research nagging questions I’d always had
      • History
      • Korean Disneyland
      • 2011 Landslide
      • Dynamited bridge on start of Korean War
      • Landmarks episodes (11 Haunted Places, 8 Weird Landmarks)
  • Birthdays in culture
    • Koreans celebrate Buddha’s birthday and Jesus’s birthday
    • Ancestor birthdays were celebrated (saengshin-jae)
    • During delivery
      • red peppers and pine boughs hung to ward off evil
      • red ribbons hung and soil scattered to pray for easy delivery
    • 100 days 한고비
      • b/c infant mortality rate was high
      • 100 ddeok must be given to 100 people in order to live 100 years
        • But not to beggars or children
        • Baekseolgi – flawlessly white to represent divinity and longevity
        • also red bean cake to chase away evil spirits and wishes for healthy growth
        • Injeolmi – grow firmly
        • Osaeksongpyeon 
          • Harmony
          • Filled and solid for a wide heart
      • Must wear clothes made from 100 pieces of cloth from 100 homes
    • 1 year – 2nds 고비
    • BUT — A child should not eat any of these commemorative cakes
      • They will die
      • Children should not eat any ritual foods
      • Originally, the rice cakes were for ghostly consumption, not human
      • Spirits don’t attach themselves to everyday foods, but they’re attached to foods associated with thanking them
  • Childbearing Deity
    • Samshin – household deity (most often female)
      • Oversees birth and growth
      • Can be the spirit of an ancestor
      • Worshipped on day of child’s birth
        • Offerings of miyeok-guk, rice, and water
    • Cheol-ryoong – household deity also related to children
      • Keeps peace for children and home
      • Highly regional worship traditions
        • Strict worship traditions
        • Ceasing worship results in misfortune
  • Child Selling (ai-palgi)
    • Child born with misfortune (weak, ill, believed to have short lifespan) given to quasi-foster parent
      • Foster parent could be natural object, deity, monk, or shaman
    • Believed to reverse child’s misfortune
    • Performed from birth to as late as seven years old

 

  • Ushering Off the Placenta (taechae)
    •  Placenta was considered sacred, needed proper ritual disposal
      • Wrapped and stored with care, often near Samshin shrine
      • Often burned; ashes washed away or buried
      • Someone must guard the placenta at all times, even while burning
        • Placenta could be stolen for use in folk medicine, especially in concoctions to induce pregnancy; placentas were thought to contain curative powers  
        • A stolen, eaten (by animals), or damaged placenta could bring misfortune to the baby (taeju)
        • Other taboos: keeper should blow on the fire or warm themselves with the fire
      • Sometimes buried
        • Placenta was buried under a tree so the child would grow like the tree
      • Disposing the placenta should be inconspicuous
      • Nobility and upperstatus enshrined placentas
        • Royal Placenta Chambers of King Sejong
          • Sejo destroyed a few of these
  • Mystical births
    • Bihyeong (6th cen.)
      • Normal birth, but born to a commoner and the ghost of King Jinji
    • Wonhyo (7th cen.)
      • Multicoloured clouds covered skies when born
    • Gung-ae (9th cen.)
      • Founder of Taebong (Late Goguryeo)
      • Rainbow over house; full set of teeth; scales
    • Gyeon Hwon (9th cen.)
      • Founder of Late Baekjae
      • Mother had contact with a man who turned into a snake (or worm)
      • Drank tiger’s milk as a child
    • Yi Soon-shin (16th cen.)
      • Father killed a Imugi; two butterflies from the corpse – sons were born; one had shifty eyes, the other calm eyes; father killed the shifty eyed one; the calm eyed one was Yi 

Horror movies

    • The Omen
    • Happy Birthday to Me
    • Demons 2
    • Madhouse
    • Spookies

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