|the Revival of the Ceremony at
Seoul's Imperial Temple of Heaven
in June 2002 (page 2)
In early June of 2002 the Organizing Committee for Visit Korea Year (for which I worked), Mr. Jo Hong-gyu
(President of KNTO) and Mr. Jang Gyeon-jak (President of Westin Chosun Hotel) arranged a re-creation of
the Go-cheon-je, the profound ceremony praying to Heaven, with a formal garden-dinner for ambassadors and
other VIPs. This was done in the hope that Korea's co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup Finals would be a great
success (as it in fact was), and that this traditional ceremony will be revived and developed into one of Korea's
living Cultural Heritage performances. It was agreed that the Go-cheon-je should be revived in regular Spring
and Autumn performances, "to let foreign visitors and even our own citizens know and see more of Korea's
unique and excellent traditional culture."
The role of "Jeju" or leading official of this ceremony, which would have been the Emperor of Korea,
was performed by Mr. Yi Seok (b.1941), who happens to be the actual oldest surviving claimant to
the Joseon Dynasty throne (which is unlikely to ever be revived, however). Twenty men made the
offerings, and they were supported by the traditional teams of 22 musicians & 36 youthful dancers.
So, this ceremony employed a total of 80 participants. It proceeded in several stages according to
ancient Neo-Confucian traditions -- really the same kind of ritual that Koreans perform for their own
ancestors on Lunar New Year's Day and the Chuseok Holiday, just much more elaborate.
|burning the invocation-papers at the end
|the Won-gu-dan in 1920, the new City Hall building in left background
|re-opened after refurbishment, September 2017