Friday, February 01, 2008

Korean shamanism


I found this article from July 2007 about Korean shamanism. When I took Korean Civilization during my undergraduate studies, we talked a lot about this subject, especially about the importance of women in the rituals. Then when I went to Korea last year, I saw the role it still plays in Korean culture today. My roommate, a Korean middle school math teacher, was always very tired. Her mom said it was because she was being haunted by a spirit that was draining her energy. My friend's mom made her send three pairs of her underwear to her. Then her mom took them from Mokpo to Busan so her and her friend could beat them with magic sticks to scare the spirit away from my friend. When my friend was explaining why we had to go to the post office to mail her used underwear, she looked at me with a confused look and said, "My mother says she is Catholic, but she still believes in spirits and beating underwear. I don't know. My mom is Korean. This is what Korean moms do." I asked her if she thought it would really work, and she said she didn’t know.

To end the story.. my roommate was still tired all the time, but I think it was because the students were draining her energy rather than an evil spirit.

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