|▲ Lee Eun-sook, CEO of the International Folklore Company|
The practice of Korean exorcism had come to a halt with the start of the Japanese colonial rule. Yet the custom has been passed down anyhow from a shaman to a shaman and it is remarkable that the Ansan Sunghwang Exorcism Dancing Festival has been in operation for the last 12 years in this much modernized society. And Lee Eun-sook, CEO of the International Folklore Company and the Folklore Newspaper, is determined to carry on her belief in the values of our traditional culture melted with the lives of our ancestors and their goodness and sadness.
The Sunghwang exorcism is a representative ritual of Ansan City and has developed around the hundreds years old kalopanax and pine trees on the Nojeokbong where the shrine to the village deity is located. Not only the residents pay a visit to the shrine but also the tourists home and abroad today. The 12th Ansan Sunghwang Exorcism Dancing Festival last October attracted a great attention and it reproduced the traditional rituals and dances. CEO Lee combined Jaemuri Sunghwang ritual, Gunjabong Sunghwang ritual and Nojeokbong Sunghwang ritual into a single ritual to make its dance, narrative and rhythm easier and more approachable to the audience.
“How time flies. It’s been 12 years already. I feel really proud to have led the festival to this long and pleased to pass down our traditional culture especially to elderly people who are like our fathers and mothers. The performance is unique in terms of exchanging actions of the actors and the reactions of the audience and I feel we all enjoyed the moment’ says Lee.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the citizens of Ansan who have shown a great interest in the ritual. I’m much encouraged and determined to promote traditional Korean rituals to the world over Korea.”
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