Korean Myths and Culture Series: The Moon Goddess

Korean Myths and Culture Series: The Moon Goddess


We look daily at the sky and see the moon in its perfect rounded shape, and the sun with its rays that illuminate our roads, which might be normal for us, but in another place and time they meant a lot; In the old days of Goguryeo Kingdom; a Korean folk legend revolved around the moon and the sun, and its heroine was the Moon Goddess.

You may have heard about the Moon Goddess before in a Korean drama, for example, but who is the Moon God and what is behind that myth?

The myth began at a time when beliefs spread in South Korea and was a major reason for dividing South Korea into kingdoms, as each kingdom was independent and had its own beliefs and legends. This legend belongs to the kingdom of Goguryeo and was established in 37 according to the book Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms).

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Once upon a time there was no moon or sun in the world, but only stars, which were not enough to illuminate and give that life enough light to light the paths. There was a beautiful girl called Dalsun who lived with her brother Haesik and their mother, who used to work as a rice cake seller.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

 One day, while the mother was returning from work, she met a tiger, and the tiger asked her for the rice cakes in exchange for her life. She gave him the cakes, but he kept appearing asking for more till she ran out of all the rice cakes, and the tiger devoured her and then disguised her dress and went to her house to eat her children too.

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The tiger reached the house and managed to get into it. The siblings then ran and climbed a tree in the yard next to the house hoping the tiger wouldn’t catch them, but the tiger ran after them, tried to climb the tree, but he wasn’t able to, so he found an axe and began to cut the tree to reach Dalsun and Haesik.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The children were so afraid so Dalsun prayed asking for bringing down from the sky a strong rope to rescue them if their hearts are pure & deserve to be saved, and if not, the rope will be weak and they will not be able to survive, and indeed a strong rope has come down to them from heaven and they ascended to heaven, where Haesik became the Sun God, and Dalsun became the Goddess of the Moon.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

This myth represents an explanation for the beginning of the appearance of the moon and the sun and gods, and because the myths reflect on the society, its behavior, and its customs, it also contained sublime meanings of interdependence, sacrifice, sincerity, and purity.

These legends are still transmitted from one generation to another until now and are passed down like other Korean legends through generations as a kind of cultural heritage and folklore, and in our next trip to the past we will shed light on another legend with another history. Source

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Author: Menna

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