Solstice in Korea: Red beans provide power to drive away evil spirits


complimentary red bean porridge, called "patjuk," at Jogye Temple in Seoul (Yonhap)

Volunteers package complimentary red bean porridge at Jogye Temple in Seoul on Dec. 21, 2020, the day of “Dongji”.  (Yonhap)

SEOUL: The COVID-19 pandemic and heavy restrictions have imposed a new way of life, but they have not waned the enthusiasm of Koreans to celebrate Solstice, “Dongji”, the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year, with their traditional red bean porridge, called “patjuk”.

Koreans traditionally eat patjuk on Dongji to follow the ancient belief that the red color of the beans provides positive energy to drive away evil spirits.

Features associated with the day include cheoyongmu, a mask dance believed to drive out harmful spirits, making lucky charms, and jisin bapji, a musical prayer.

According to traditions, people believed that ghosts hated the color of the red beans. So they stored Patjuk in various places around the house to get rid of bad energy. They might also bury it in their yards for good luck in the coming New Year.

Search in Site