|the Revival of the Ceremony at
Seoul's Imperial Temple of Heaven
in June 2002 (page 2)
In early June of 2002 the Organizing Committee for Visit Korea Year (for which I worked), Mr. Jo Hong-gyu
(President of KNTO) and Mr. Jang Gyeon-jak (President of Westin Chosun Hotel) arranged a re-creation of the
Go-cheon-je, the profound ceremony praying to Heaven, with a formal garden-dinner for ambassadors and other
VIPs. This was done in the hope that Korea's co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup Finals would be a great success
(as it in fact was), and that this traditional ceremony will be revived and developed into one of Korea's living
Cultural Heritage performances. It was agreed that the Go-cheon-je should be revived in regular Spring and
Autumn performances, "to let foreign visitors and even our own citizens know and see more
of Korea's unique and excellent traditional culture."
The role of "Jeju" or leading official of this ceremony, which would have been the Emperor of Korea, was
performed by Mr. Yi Seok (b.1941), who happens to be the actual oldest surviving claimant to the Joseon
Dynasty throne (which is unlikely to ever be revived, however). Twenty men made the offerings, and
they were supported by the traditional teams of 22 musicians & 36 youthful dancers.
So, this ceremony employed a total of 80 participants. It proceeded in several stages according to ancient
Neo-Confucian traditions -- really the same kind of ritual that Koreans perform for their own ancestors on
Lunar New Year's Day and the Chuseok Holiday, just much more elaborate.
burning the invocation-papers at the end
|the Won-gu-dan in 1920, the new City Hall building in left background