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South Korea

Ancestral beliefs in South Korea

You will discover during your visit in South Korea that several religions are practiced in the area and that the population continues to respect certain ancestral traditions.

Religions in South Korea

From 1972 onwards, the constitution guaranteed that all of the country's inhabitants are entirely free to practice the faith and religion of their choice in their area. So at the outset, the main religions were Shamanism and Buddhism, you will discover over the course of your trip around South Korea that in today's religious panorama of the country, Christianity holds first place.

Amongst the Christians, the greater majority is represented by Catholics and Protestants. A lot less often you can come across Methodists within the Pongsu region and the Orthodox in the surroundings of Jongbaek.

Buddhists form the second most extensive religion in South Korea.

Amongst the other religions that are possible to discover during your stay, it's possible to mention those faithful to Confucius, as well as the members of the Moon Cult, but also Shamanism stemming from traditional and ancestral practices are still very highly regarded in South Korea.

In South Korea

Cult of the dead

What is striking when going around South Korea but also true of East Asia, is the important part played by the oldest traditions in the daily life of the population. Among them is a type of cult of the dead, also called ancestor rituals. The belief is that with the death of a person, the spirit remains with their family for four generations. Throughout this time, the spirit is considered as a person in their own right. In each house, a small altar is set up with a photo of the deceased. The spirit lives within the house just like a person who is still alive. Meals and offerings are given to him, ceremonies are organised and no important decision is made without his presence, opinion or consultation.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 17 November 2015
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