All-night Festival for Korea's Founding-King
Gaecheon-jeol Holiday Weekend of Dan-gi Year 4341 (2008)
This was the 27th annual Dangun-je Ritual-Festival held here. The main ceremonies were Shamanic, but the
celebrations also featured Buddhist, Confucian, rural-folk and modern-culture factors. I attended it with my wife
and three good friends, all through the night of Saturday-Sunday October 4th-5th of 2008. Gasan-sa is quite remote, some-
what hard-to-find... My digital camera was insufficient for these night-shots, but what you see here was the best I could get.
The registry at the entranceway featured a banner proclaiming a large partially-ethnic-Korean region of Manchuria,
which nationalists call "Gando", as "Our Land" and urging its "recovery". The areas once belonged to the proto-
Korean Goguryeo and Balhae Kingdoms back in the 1st millennium CE, but has been ruled by other groups ever
since, and is now part of China. This irredentism is slowly rising in South Korea, fueled by refreshed national pride
over economic success and resentment of China's recent claim that Goguryeo is part of its own history. It is closely
related with the increasing reification of the Dan-gun myth and associated claims of a vast "Gojoseon" empire.
|the Altars for Dan-gun Wanggeom
|the Shamanic ritual-ceremonies got underway before midnight, and lasted until just before dawn