What are some korean myths






Customs around the full moon
Clans on Jeju Island
Kaya states myth
Kyonu and Chingnyo
On-jo - myth
Shilla myth
Tan'gun myth


First records of folk tales probably date back to the 6th to 7th centuries and were written by Kim Dae-Nun, a high-ranking official of the Shilla dynasty. Unfortunately, his works are no longer preserved, but were named as a source in later collections.

The tradition of writing down regional narratives became one of the favorite pastimes of the multilingual scholars of the time during the Choson dynasty (1392 to 1910). The problem with these collections, however, is that the story was simply written down, with no indication of regional origin, the narrator or any analysis of the material. If you look for the fathers of research into Korean sagas, fairy tales and stories, the threads run with the Buddhist monk Iryon, who lived in the 13th century during the Koryo dynasty. The monk Iryon did Samguk yusa authored, a collection of stories and tales from the previous Shilla dynasty. Many of these were written for the first time ever. The important thing is the source in relation to the origin and its regional characteristics.

For centuries after the monk Iryon, there was no one left who kept the collection and analyzed it orally transmitted stories with the same research zeal. So you have to make a huge leap into the 19th century. Roughly 3 periods can be identified.

  • before Japanese rule (from 1880 to 1910)
  • Japanese colonial rule (1910 to 1945)
  • as well as from 1945 until today

In the second half of the 19th century, the foreign powers forced Korea to open up the country. The first westerners came to the country and were also interested in Korean folk tales as an expression of culture. In 1889 the American missionary Howard N. Allen published "Korean Tales and collection of storys translated from the korean folklore". Here are 7 of the most famous Korean fairy tales. In 1893 a German translation with the title "Korea - Märchen und Legenden" appeared alongside an introduction to the country and people, customs and traditions of Korea.

The first extensive collection of 64 Korean folk tales and fairy tales in a European language appeared in 1904. Nikailowsky was an engineer involved in the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in Manchuria and had visited Korea in 1898. His collection goes well into the 1950s for the understanding of Korean folk literature in Europe, which failed. It was translated into French in 1925, into Slovak in 1933, and into German in 1948 as a Korean fairy tale. But works of this kind were again only popular, not analyzing or commenting. The first Westerner to study the analysis of Korean folk tales scientifically was the American Methodist and missionary Homer Pulvert. As early as 1893 he made the first attempt to polish the type of Korean folk tales in a lecture at the international folklore congress.

Until 1919, it was mainly Western missionaries and Japanese researchers who studied Korean folk tales. The respective objectives were fundamentally different. The westerners collected Korean folk tales to introduce Korea in their respective homeland. For example, William Griffit published the collection "Fary Tales of old Korea" in Great Britain in 1911 with precisely this aim. The Japanese, who published four larger collections of Korean folk tales from 1910 to 1919 alone, were primarily concerned with serving the colonial government, which at times even went so far as to forbid the official use of the Korean language. The publication of Korean fairy tales and legends in Japanese, i.e. texts that are closest to the people and their origins, directly or indirectly served the attempt to alienate one's own roots. That changed only after the suppression of the first Korean independence movement in 1919. After that, the Japanese government allowed cultural activities. The consequence was that in the 20s and 30s the Korean folklore was researched again. In 1924, the Japanese colonial government even personally edited a collection of 24 Korean folk tales in Japanese. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Koreans, with the relaxation of the Japanese occupiers on cultural issues, increasingly engaged in research into folk tales. In the broadest sense, these research activities served to find the Korean identity and to develop and strengthen the national feeling and thus of course ultimately to undermine the authority of the Japanese occupiers. Sometimes this comes across quite subtly in the title. For example, in 1922 Ahn Ton-Su brought out a collection of 104 stories with the designated title "Strange Stories from 5,000 Years Old Korea". The title emphasizes that Korea as a country is almost as old as China, contradicting Japanese claims of the time that Korea had no real history. The first great scholar to research the orally transmitted literature of Korea is likely to be Son Chin-Tae. He wrote Choson mangan shu, a collection of Korean folk tales published in 1930 and containing 155 stories. Although the book is written in Japanese, it is nevertheless significant in several ways. On the one hand, Son Chin-Tae himself traveled to the various regions of Korea and recorded the stories he heard there. He recorded important data such as the name, age and origin of the narrator and the date of the recordings. In addition, he provided the texts with numerous explanatory footnotes that provide information on the meaning, purpose and historical background of the respective stories. In this sense, it can be argued that Son Chin-Tae is the father of modern research into Korean folk tales. Of course, his work has the disadvantage that it had to be published in Japanese. That means the Korean original wording of the story was lost. This could be avoided in a collection of Korean shamanic songs also published by Son Chin-Tae in 1930, in which the original Korean texts and Japanese translations could be published side by side and with annotations. With the increased interest in the scholarly study of Korean folk tales, the Korean Folklore Association was founded in 1932. She edited the journal "Korean Folklore Studies" which has become a primary means of promoting Korean folk tales and culture in other countries. With the liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, the external compulsion in researching the Korean folk tale to have to assert Korean identity in contrast to the Japanese, despite the fact that in the following period, despite the changed political framework conditions, the psychological need disappeared Establishing and strengthening an independent Korean identity continued to play a role. What is new in the post-colonial era, however, is that, in addition to nationalistically motivated, more theoretical and comparative issues are being addressed.


With the end of the Japanese colonial period in 1945, a period of social and political unrest began in Korea, which finally culminated in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. The general uncertainty of the time also made itself felt in the field of research into folk tales. For example, Cho San-Shu's important and comprehensive collection of the legends of the Korean people was ready for printing as early as 1946. However, due to the turmoil of the time, it could only appear 12 years later, i.e. in 1958. This collection of 317 folk tales in Korean is provided for the first time with an index that sorts the individual stories by type, region and narrator. From that point on, studies and collections focused on a specific region appeared in Korea. Jing Sun-Gis, "Stories from the South of the Country", published in 1959, is an important one. This collection marked the start of a series of publications on Jeju Island folklore.

Since the 1960s, the number of studies, writings, and collections of Korean folk tales has skyrocketed. Three currents can be identified:

  1. Increase in research into regional legends and narratives
  2. The publication of multi-volume works of Korean folk tale
  3. Raising the level of analysis of folk tales

The work of In Suk-Tae, who specialized in researching the folk tales of the Cholla province, is representative of the regional trend. An example of Flow # 2 is "A General Overview Report on Korean Folk Tales". This encyclopedia-like work was published in 1970. Another multi-volume work is "Collections of Korean Oral Literature" published in 1977. In the 1980s, similarly extensive works of Korean folk tales appeared in English. But with these works the biggest disadvantage is that important background information about the telling and why of the individual stories is missing, i.e. these books are missing something - the academic format.

Interestingly, there seem to be better editions of Korean folk tales in German than in English. For example Andras Eckert's "Under the Odumbree - Korean sagas, fairy tales and fables", which he collected during his 20-year stay in Korea. The book was published in 1971, also by Andreas Eckert "Korean sagas, folk tales and fairy tales" which he collected during a long stay in Korea - published in 1955. In the tradition of Eckert, Hans-Jürgen Federowsky's standard work "Märchen aus Korea" was published in 1965.

Numerous societies are now engaged in research into Korean folk literature, and the Korean government actively supports the studies and publications. How far this area has matured in the meantime is also shown by the fact that more than 15 years ago a folklore faculty was set up at Andong National University, which deals with research into Korean folk tales.




The Tan'gun myth, founding myth of the Korean nation:


October 3rd is a national holiday in Korea, namely the founding day of the Korean Empire. It commemorates the founding of the nation by Tan'gun. The literal translation of the Korean naming for this day is: "The day the sky opens". On this day not only is the founding of the country by Tan'gun celebrated, but it is also the day on which Hwanung, the son of the god Hanim in the year 2457 BC. Opened the sky for the first time and settled in the Taekdu Mountains. This day is very important for Koreans. In the past, Koreans held October for a month with good omens and held ancestral commemoration ceremonies in October to thank the ancestors for the rich harvest and also celebrated ceremonies to worship heaven. These ceremonies were celebrated under certain names in the respective empire. In the Kuryo empire it was called Jongpo, in the Kukoryo empire Tungmen, in the Paekche empire Chuchon and in the Shilla and Koryo empires Talgonhae. The provisional government of Korea set this day on October 3rd according to the lunar calendar and is still considered an important day to this day. However, this day is no longer celebrated according to the lunar calendar, but according to the solar calendar. Nowadays this day offers the opportunity to reflect on the origins of the people and the country and to be proud of its roots. There is a legend about Tan'gun who is said to have founded the nation.


The source for this goes to the book "Tan'gun Togi " back, but that no longer exists. The 4 remaining texts date from the 13th and 15th centuries. The best known version is in "sanguk yusa" to find the monk Iryon.

In Waiju, the Anals of the Northern Wai Dynasty, which ruled from 386 to 534, it is written:

"2000 years ago there was a man named Tan'gun Wang, he built the city of Asadal and founded the nation of Choson. That happened at the time of Emperor Yao, who ruled China from 2356 to 2255 BC".

in the Tan'gun hori, the anal of Tan'gun and his dynasty is written:


In ancient times, Hwanin had a son named Hwanung with a second wife. Hwanung's wish was to come down from heaven and take possession of the human world. Hwanin, who found out about this, went down on the three great mountains and saw that humanity would benefit from his son's plan. He gave Hwanung the three heavenly sigils as a symbol of his authority and commanded him to rule over humanity. Hwanung took 3,000 ghosts with him as a retinue and descended from a sandalwood tree to the top of Mount Paektu-San. This region was called the City of God. Hwanung came to be known as Hwanung Chon-wang - King of Heaven. Together with the prince of the wind, the lord of the rain and the lord of the clouds, Hwanung took over the supervision of agriculture, the healing of diseases, punishments and the distinction between right and wrong. At that time, a bear and a tiger lived together in a cave. However, they asked Hwanung to turn into humans. So Hwanung gave them mugwort and 20 bulbs of garlic and said "if you eat this sacred mugwort and garlic and avoid daylight for 20 days you will take on human form". The bear and the tiger took the plants and ate them. Then they started fasting. The bear fasted three times for 7 days and then turned into a woman. But the tiger could not endure the long fast and did not take on a human form. Since there was no one with whom the bear woman could have married, she went to the sandalwood tree every day and prayed for a child. Hwanung then assumed human form and married the bear woman. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son - he was called Tan'gun wangom. In the 50th year of the reign of Emperor Yao, which was the year 2308 BC. Tan'gun built a city near Pyongyang, today's Sojong. He founded a nation he called Choson. Later he moved his city to Asadal on Mount Paegag-san. Tan'gun ruled the nation for 1500 years. King Wo of the Chu dynasty gave Kija the Choson land as a feudal state. That was in the reign of Ji-Mao in 1125 BC. Tan'gun then went to Chandang-jon. Later he returned to Asadal, retired to a hiding place and transformed into the mountain god Sang'in. At that time he was 1908 years old.


So much for the myth itself. I would like to draw your attention to a few interesting points. On the one hand, Hwanung, Tan'gun's father, is clearly of divine origin, but is referred to as Sojia - the son of a second wife or the second son of the main wife. It can therefore be assumed that there was also a first son and heir to heaven. The myth could thus allude to the very human and in most cultures widespread need of a second son in aristocratic circles. Hwanung descends to earth, which is, however, already populated. He brings order and culture into the prevailing chaos. Thus the Tan'gun myth is not an origin from the origin of the universe, but a myth from the emergence of a certain social order, a nation. Bear and tiger are probably the totem symbols for a clan or the direct clan ancestors. The tiger falls victim to its weakness, which is reminiscent of the actual historical clan rivalries between the Pak, Chok and Kim clan in the period from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD. Hwanung and Bärfrau join forces and thus establish the unity between heaven and earth, which later comes into play again in the philosophy of Jin and Yang. The main forces of the cosmos unite harmoniously in the person of the state founder and ruler Tan'gun. Until the final scene, the Tan'gun myth is about the explanation of the origin of the culture, the roots of the ruling clan and the origin of the state of Choson. The final scene with its suddenly historically precise information briefly explains the background of the dynasty change from the Tan'gun to the Kija dynasty, for which there are historical parallels. In addition, the origin of the mountain deity Sang'in, who is revered in shamanism to this day, is explained. After the fall of his dynasty, Tan'gun transforms into Sang'in and in this form continues to offer the Korean nation spiritual access to the heavenly realms.


Increased historical references to the Tan'gun myth can be found in the 13th century, when Korea was a vassal state of the Mongol Empire from 1234 to 1367 and the Korean population was suppressed to a certain extent.At this time the monk Iryon wrote down the Tan'gun myth and thus contracted the independent identity of the Korean people, the state and the ruling family with the Mongol rulers. The myth gives the Korean people cultural, ethnic and political superiority over the conquerors because it shows that the Koreans, like the Chinese, have an ancient civilization that is also of divine origin. The Tan'gun myth then took a back seat in the following centuries until the next major occupation, namely the Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

Korean scholars developed a new and strong interest in this myth just at this time. Since the early Maeji era in Japan, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, the heavenly origin of the imperial family was propagated in Japan, making Japan a holy state and, accordingly, Japanese politics a quasi sacred matter. Even the annexation of Korea thereby gained sacred and higher legitimacy. No wonder that the Korean scholars rely on the Tan'gun myth to show that Korea has been able to demonstrate state and social structures that have been independent of Japan for several thousand years. This undermines the Japanese claim to Korea, which was particularly noticeable in the 1930s when Japan forbade the use of Korean names and the Korean written language in order to eradicate the consciousness of an independent Korean identity. In the 40s and 50s that had a boomerang effect. Because one of the first acts of the new Korean government in 1948 was to adopt the Tan'gi system as the official calendar, which started with the birth of Tan'gun and his reign in 2333 BC. Begins. Then became kae ch´ôn chôl designated as a national holiday. This day of the opening of heaven commemorated the birth of Tan'gun. At that time Rhee Synman was President, who belonged to the Christian faith. For him, however, the symbolic act of patriotism was behind these decisions. At the same time, the quasi religious community kae ch'ônju, which devoted itself to the worship of Tan'gun, arose. In the 1960s, a heated debate arose among Korean theologians about the god figure Tan'gun and its interpretation from the theological point of view. It is interesting that the Tan'gun myth was also used in North Korea to build political authority. From the 1970s onwards, the then great leader Kim Il Jung tried to secure political legitimacy for his son Kim Jong Il as his successor. Of course, votes against such a communist succession were opposed. Kim Jong Il's biographies have been published since the 1970s, claiming that he was born on Taekdo Mountain, precisely at the point where Hwanung, Tan'gun's father, is said to have descended to earth. As far as is known, Kim Jong Il was born in the Central Asian part of the former Soviet Union. In 1994 the North Korean government announced that they had found and excavated Tan'gun's grave. The alleged burial mound has been wonderfully restored and adorned with side statues of Tan'gun's 4 sons. There is also a museum in which the remains of Tan'gun and his wife are to be kept. Books were written about the excavations and the tomb, which were distributed abroad. However, all of the propaganda was mainly aimed at strengthening Korean national consciousness in peacetime and thus loyalty to the state and the given political system. This is further emphasized by the fact that the North Korean state and people continue to officially refer to themselves as Choson. Tan'gun had also given the nation he founded the name Choson. In South Korea, the name Daehan has been used for state and people, probably because the Japanese occupiers also used the name Choson. Daehan was the official name used by the Korean Resistance Movement for their Provisional Government.

This whole discussion shows that ancient myths, especially founding myths, are not old news that are only of interest to dusty scholars. Such myths are always topical when a state gets into a crisis and wants to polish up its origins and legitimacy.

Legend of King On-jo of Paekche


According to the Sangu-chin, a story of the 3 kingdoms written by the Chinese scholar Shen Shu in the 3rd century, On-jo was the founding father of Paekche. Onjo's father was King Chumong. When Chumong fled to Cholbon Puyô, the king there had no son but only 3 daughters. The king considered Chumong to be an outstanding person and therefore gave him his second daughter as a wife. Soon the king died. Chumong succeeded him to the throne and named the kingdom Koguryo. Chumong had 2 sons, the older one was called Piryô and the younger On-jo. When neither of the two was declared heir to the throne, but instead their stepbrother inherited the throne, they became frightened and fled south with 10 courtiers. Many of the people of Koguryo followed them. When they reached the area of ​​Hansan, which is today's Namhan Mountain in Kyonggi Province, they climbed the Pua Mountain and from there discovered land that was suitable for settlement. Piryô said "Let's go to the coast and live there!" The 10 courtiers were against it, however, declaring instead, "In the area south of the river, the Han River is a natural border in the north, high mountains in the east, fertile land in the south and the sea in the west. Such geographical advantages and natural defensive conditions allow Difficult to find anywhere else. We should build our city here! "

But Piryô did not listen to the advice of the courtiers. He split the allegiance and moved to Mich'uhol, now Inch'eon, and settled there. But On-jo settled in Hanam Wiryesông, the area around what is now the Olympic Village in Seoul. Since the 10 courtiers had helped him, he named the nation Sipche, which happened in the third year of the reign of the Chinese emperor Hung-chia, i.e. 18 BC. However, because the land where Piryô had settled was swampy and the water salty, Piryô settlement could not develop well. He visited his brother On-jo and saw that this settlement was flourishing and that the people were leading a comfortable life. Then he regretted his decision and died of shame. Thereupon all of his followers also moved to Hanam Wiryesông. They later called the nation Paekche. Because the royal family of Paekche, like that of Koguryo, came from Puyô in the north, they used the family name Hae. They later moved the capital south and named it Saya or Sagi, which was later called Puyowon.



Kaya States Myth


In addition to Koguryo and Paekche, there existed from 42 BC. In the south of the Korean peninsula, the confederation of the six Kaja states. At times their power was so important that they even endangered the neighboring Shilla empire. Kaja even penetrated as far as Japan. However, Shilla's victory over Kaja ultimately thwarted her rise to an important kingdom.

The myth about the origin of the six Kaja states is extremely interesting. Here is the version from the sanguk yusa (the story of the three kingdoms from the 13th century):


The nation has never had a name since its inception. The king of the people also had no name. At that time there were 9 chiefs, Adokan, Yodokan, Pirukan, Odukan, Chosukan, Yuchonkan, Shinchonkan, Ochonkan and Shinrikan. They ruled over 75,000 subjects in 100 households. Your life was simple. They lived in the mountains and in the fields, dug wells and drank water, plowed the fields and ate the crops. In the 3rd month of the 18th year of the Xian-Wu era, by King Kwang-Wu of the late Han dynasty, that was 42 BC. On Kä-ok-il, the day of purification and exorcism, on the 1st day of the 3rd month according to the lunar calendar, a strange voice could be heard from Kipchi Mountain in the north. 200 to 300 people were gathered there. They heard a human-like voice there, but there was nothing and nobody to be seen. Then they heard the voice ask "Is anyone there?". The 9 chiefs replied, "It's us". Then the voice asked "Where am I?", The tribal chiefs answered "On the Kipchi Mountain". Then the voice said, "Hwangchon, the ruler of heaven has commanded me to descend in this place to renew the nation. Dig a pit on the mountain top, dance and sing the following song: turtle, turtle, if you don't stick your head out we will roast you and eat you up ". If you greet the King in this way, it will be a happy and joyful time. "

The 9 chiefs spread this message. Everyone sang and danced happily. A little later they looked up and saw a purple rope falling from the sky to the ground. As they approached, they noticed that a gold box wrapped in purple cloth was attached to the end of the rope. They opened the box and found 6 golden eggs in it, round like the sun. Everyone was surprised and excited. They bowed to the eggs a hundred times. After a while, they put the eggs back in the box and took them to the house of the chief Adokan. There they put her on a bench and walked away. Twelve hours passed, and the next morning people came back and opened the box. The eggs had turned into 6 boys with shining faces. They put the boys on the bench and revered them joyfully by bowing respectfully. The boys grew up quickly, after 10 days they were already big. Her teeth were similar to those of Chen Yi from Jing. Their dragon-like faces were reminiscent of Kao-zu, the founder of the Han dynasty. Her eyes had pupils like those of Shun, one of the 5 legendary rulers of Chinese mythology. On the 15th day of the month the eldest of the boys took his place on the throne. His name was Shuru or Shuren. The name of his empire was Paekarak or Kayaguk. It was one of the six Kaya states. The remaining 5 left and became the rulers of the other 5 Kaya states. The boundaries were the Yongsan-Gan River in the east, Pyang-hae in the southwest, the Chiri-San Mountains in the northwest, and the Kaya-San Mountains in the northeast. In the south the nation ended at the sea.




Founding myth of the Shilla empire


(The Shilla Empire existed from 57 BC to 935 AD in the outer southeast of the Korean peninsula)

On the first day of the third month of the first year of the Iraqichi government (that was 69 BC), the ancestors of the 6 tribes brought their descendants to a hill above the ice river and began to discuss. They said that their people need a prince to rule them. It is necessary to find a virtuous person, make him king, found a nation, and establish a royal resistance. They looked south from the top of the mountain to the Najung spring at the foot of the Jangsan mountain (these are today's Namsan mountains in Kyongju). There they saw strange clouds of steam and a light shimmering on the floor. A white horse stood by and appeared to be bowing to something. They went to this place and found a red egg. When the horse saw the people, it neighed loudly and fled into the sky. They broke it open and out came a boy of wonderful shape. The people were amazed and took him to the Sochon River. As they washed him a light broke out of his body. Birds and animals followed him dancing. Heaven and earth trembled, the sun and moon shone brightly. People called the boy hyoccosis - he was also called Bulgonae, which means wavy, bright rule.

His government name was Kosurhan or Kosurgam, after the first word he heard. People vied in praise of the boy and said, "A Son of Heaven has come to us. He should marry a virtuous virgin." That day, a dragon appeared in the Aryong Spring near the village of Sarjangnae and gave birth to a girl from its left side. The head was beautifully shaped, but her mouth was like a shimmering beak. The people took them to the Pukchon River to bathe. In the river the beak fell, which is why they called the river Balkh'on - (river in which beak was thrown off). At the foot of the Namsan Mountain, a palace was built in which the holy children were raised. The egg from which the boy was born looked like a bottle gourd. Since the bottle gourd is called Pak in the dialect of the area, the family name Pak was given to the prince. The princess was named Aryong after the source of her birth. When the two children turned 13, the prince was crowned king and the girl became his wife. The land was called Sorabol or Sobol, but was also known as Shara or Sharo. Later the name was changed to Kerjim and then to Shilla.

After reigning King Hyokcose for 62 years, he ascended to heaven. After seven days, his ashes fell from the sky and scattered over the land. His wife followed him. The people wanted to bury the couple in a grave, but a huge snake came out and foiled the plan. The remains were divided into 5 parts, 5 burials were held and 5 graves were dug. Crown Prince Namhae succeeded his father Hyokkose to the throne.




Myth of the 3 clans on Jeju Island



In Tangma'goke it is written "In the beginning there was no life on Tangma Island, neither humans nor animals existed. But then three divine men came to earth. On the northern slope of Halla Mountain there is a cave called Mo-hung and there the men appeared, the oldest named Yang-illa, the second oldest Ko-illa, and the third Po-illa.

The three men first returned from the hunt. They wore animal skins and ate the meat of the animals. One day they saw a wooden chest wrapped in purple cloth floating across the East Sea to the island. They immediately brought the chest ashore and opened it. In the wooden chest was a stone box and a messenger who was dressed in a purple robe with a red belt. When the men opened the stone box, they found three young girls in green robes, a pair of horses and a pair of cattle and the five grains, namely rice, barley, soybeans and two kinds of millet. The messenger said, "I am the envoy of Japan. Our king has three daughters and said three sons of heaven came down by a great mountain in the western sea to found a nation. But they are not married. Therefore, by order of the king, I have three daughters here Take her as your wife and found a nation. With these words the messenger climbed a cloud. The three men chose a woman according to their age and married her. Then they took off their pants and in this way determined the places with the most fertile messengers, the clearest water. The place where Yang-illa, the eldest, settled was the most important. That of Ko-illa, the second most important, and that of Po-illa, the youngest, the third most important. They then began to pull the grains and to farm, they began to breed animals with horses and cattle, and soon the number of animals increased and the number of people also increased.






Kyonu and Chingnyo

According to a Korean legend, the stars Wega and Altair are the heavenly reincarnation of lovers. Their names were Kyonu and Chingnyo. Chingnyo was the daughter of a King of Heaven and was good at weaving and also very hardworking and lived on the eastern side of the Milky Way. This king loved his daughter dearly and was concerned that she might be lonely. The King of Heaven had his daughter married off to the shepherd boy Kyonu, who lived on the western Milky Way and looked after animals. But Kyonu and Chingnyo were so in love with each other after their marriage that they both got lazy. Then the king got very angry and banished his daughter to the eastern end of the Milky Way, his son-in-law had to stay on the western side of the Milky Way. The separation made both lovers very sad, so the King of Heaven allowed his daughter to visit her husband once a year. But there was no bridge over the Milky Way to meet.

The magpies on earth regretted this so much that they flew to the Milky Way and formed a bridge with their bodies. This bridge is called Ojak-kyo, which means Elsternbrücke and the rain that day is called Tichoku. It is said to consist of the tears of Kyonu and Chingnyo, who shed those tears for joy. The rain the next morning should also consist of the tears from Kyonu and Chingnyo, which they shed when they parted. Today, couples in love visit a fortune teller on this day to see the future. On this day rice cakes, zucchini pancakes, noodles and cucumber kimchi are eaten.

(July 7th according to the lunar calendar is Valentine's Day in China and Taiwan)


Customs around the full moon


On the night before the 15th day of the first full moon according to the lunar calendar, they made a straw doll and threw it into a stream. That meant throwing away a hapless fate and hailing a happier new year. It was also a custom to drink wine on the morning of the 15th day after the Lunar New Year, in order to "clear your ears", as it was believed, and to crack nuts and eat nuts. If you cracked nuts with a hard shell and ate them, you believed you were protecting yourself from ulcers and skin diseases, as well as driving away evil spirits.The background was that in the past there wasn't that much to eat and there are vitamins in nuts and chestnuts. It was also a custom to cross a bridge before and after the 15th day. If you crossed a bridge in the evening, you had to cross it as often as you have lived in years and then hoped to stay healthy and not have any pain in your legs in the coming year.

Another and important custom is that of fortune telling. So it was customary to predict someone's future. If you lit straw dolls you could tell whether there was a good or a bad harvest. If the fire went out, it was believed that the harvest was poor due to the strong monsoons. The full moon was also observed on this day in order to deduce a good or bad harvest from it. If the full moon seemed reddish, it promised a good harvest, but if the moon was white, a failed harvest due to floods was imminent.

In the month of the first moon, ritual ceremonies - tongje - were held in every town and town. E.g. sanshinje, a ritual service for the god of the mountains, ritual celebrations on the streets and a celebration for the dragon king.

The beginning of spring (ipch'un) generally takes place at the beginning of February. At that time, every household wrote a poem about the beginning of spring and attached it to a pillar of the house or to the entrance gate to the village.