Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tree Spirit!

The more intrepid waeg who dares to venture deep into the countryside will be familiar with how many a village will have a massively huge tree either in the center of the village or very close by.  A few questions to the older inhabitants garners responses on how it is the home of the village spirit.  It is common to see grandparents sitting around the tree in summer, eating, gossiping, making decisions vital to the village.   

In a country where it is uncommon to see huge trees in the mountains, these rare monsters really stand out.  Most of the flora and fauna having been devastated during the last civil war, that these huge trees remain is a testament of their importance to village life.

While you can see massive trees in more urban areas as well, they don't serve the same purpose or have the same importance as they do in the countryside, as evidenced by the lengths one village took to preserve their tree (no. 64).

I remember it was either the second or third time I went to pick up my Alien Registration Card in Chuncheon went I came across David Mason's The Spirit of the Mountains in the office bookshelf.  It was an excellent read, and as I've always had an interest in folklore, it provided some excellent insight into some of the things I'd seen.  I now have a copy of most of his books, and recommend them to any waeg really interested in Korean folklore and animism.

Time for coffee.

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