Village Grandmothers Return to Pray at Desecrated Sulsaemit Shrine

Sulsaemit shrine has been thoroughly cleaned by Jeju locals and expats, an event organized by the new activist group theSenjari Rangers’. Last night, on the traditional ceremonial date, January 7th by the lunar calendar, at least one elderly worshipper attended the shrine and left an offering to the village’s tutelary gods, Grandmother Go, Grandfather Kim and the Mountain God.

The paper and cloth hanging from the tree are new offerings made by a visitor or visitors to the shrine sometime before 4 a.m., Febuary 25th.
Six of us, who were amongst those to clear the shrine of felled trees and debris from the smashed concrete walls,  left our own offering at the altar of the shrine at around 4 a.m., February 25th.

IMG_7804  IMG_7800 The fact that former Juksung residents are now able to return to their shrine, knowing that others from outside their community have shown concern, is a great inspiration to those of us who participated in last week’s cleaning operation.   Juksung Village saw most of its population killed in cold blood during the massacres of the 1948, Jeju Uprising. (wikipedia) Throughout the following decades survivors returned to the shrine to make offerings and pray on ceremonial days, this despite the fact that not a single house remained after the bloody assault on the village.  Sulsaemit shrine was throughly desecrated last winter by unknown assailants. I followed the story for over a year as part of my documentary project on Jeju’s shrines. Recently, a blog post I wrote  attracted attention and motivated a group to form with the aim of salvaging the shrine.

Korean: “설새밋당은 이대로 사라지는가?” Isn’t It Time to Talk About the Desecrated Shrine at Juksung? 

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