UPDATE : 2020.3.30 Mon 12:21
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The beginning of rice farming, "gogu"
This season is the time when all the crops wake up from their long winter sleep with spring’s energy. Our ancestors called this moment “Gogu,”(pronounced gog-woo) which means to fertilize crops with spring rain. Gogu is a seasonal custom receding into the dim past. Our Korean ancestors’ life was focused on agriculture, because in an agrarian society, which is based on farming, that activity is the central fact of life. So people in the agrarian society divided the year into 24 solar terms and farmed in the proper season. Gogu, the 6th term, is the last term of spring, about middle of March on the lunar calendar, April 20th on the solar calendar.
As you know, Gogu is the term which informs us of the beginning of farming. When Gogu comes, the farming season begins in earnest with preparing the seedbed. There are many sayings about weather which help us to understand the pure minds of farmers, who wished for a rich year based on their expectations of the year’s weather.
When Gogu comes, the rice seeds are soaked in the seedbeds. Those who have bad accidents or see bad things at this time have to hold a ceremony to drive away evil spirits that might come into the house or infect the seeds, because the seeds are consecrated at this time. Traditionally, children ran around the village to prevent birds from spoiling the seedbed during Gogu, and the village seniors performed a Gosa, offering a sacrifice to the spirits by hanging a seed pot from a straw rope. All the people in the village helped each other and wished that the year’s farming would be successful. In this way, Gogu is not only the beginning of farming season, but also a means of connecting people as a community with dreams of a rich year.
During this year’s Gogu, although we can’t see these scenes and are unaffected by Gogu because we live in the city, how about reflecting on our ancestor’s aspiration and effort for a bumper year at the beginning of a new rice crop?
By Jung Hwan-su, cub-reporter

Jung Hwan-su  s8668@changwon.ac.kr

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