the Ancient Site for Paying Respect to Halla-san
The ways in which the native Tanma people worshipped Halla-
san are not well-known. Since the 1105 CE conquest by
Korea's Goryeo Dynasty (and maybe before), annual ceremonies
were held in the peak crater, at the beginning of the Second
Moon (late February or early March). However, there were
several incidents of participants freezing to death, or suffering
severe frostbite up there. In 1470 CE the stone altars were
moved down to this location on the lower NE slope by Jeju
Governor Lee Yak-dong. It is now on Highway 11, just south of
Jeju City, between Gwaneum-sa and the old northern-mountain-
fortress wall. I find it curious that it was not placed on the
southern slope as would be more common; perhaps the proximity
to Gwaneum-sa, greatest temple on Jeju in those days, was the
key factor in that.
The name Sancheon-dan
[Mountain-Heaven Altar] means
that it is a place for respecting
both the San-shin and the
Heavenly spirits, at the
peak-point where they are
closest, where their
communication is clearest.
This site includes six giant
Black Pine trees, a very rare
species, thought to be over
500 years old (planted when
the shrine was moved here).
Simple carved native-stone altars are used to
make offerings and prayers. The standing stones
are inscribed with Chinese characters declaring
various forms of respect for the Halla-san-shin.
The annual ceremony was held on February
12th in 2003, 12th day of the First Moon by
Korea's lunar calendar; it was held on March
3rd in 2011, which was Lunar 1.29. The
exact date each year is determined by the
elders of the local village.
Newsis photo of the March
3rd 2011 Sanshin-je ritual .
It looks like the typical Confucian
style, same as on the mainland.
I have never been able to attend
this ceremony, due to logistics.