• History of Korea
  • Ⅳ. The Establishment and Development of the Aristocratic Society of Goryeo
  • 1. Goryeo Once again Unites the People
  • D. Palgwanhoe and Yeondeunghoe, the National Festivals of Goryeo

‘Palgwanhoe’, meaning Buddhist Festival of Eight Vows, was the largest festival of Goryeo held on November 15th (lunar) calendar at Gaegyeong.

On this day, a memorial service was offered to Buddha and a festival was staged to please the deities. The king himself performed the rituals to the heavens, mountains, rivers and dragons of the sea.

The congratulatory performances lasted until late in the evening. Not only the high-ranking officials of Gaegyeong, but also the local officials representing each region took part in the ceremonies.

On this day, envoys and merchants from other nations came to see the king and offered him gifts. Merchants from around the then known world took this opportunity to sell products to the aristocrats from not only Gaegyeong, but the rest of the country as well.

Palgwanhoe was the place of festivals and trade, as well as the place for the exchange of information where news on the surrounding nations and regions could be obtained.

Meanwhile, Yeongdeunghoe, meaning the Lantern Festival, held on lunar January 15, was the most important Buddhist event. On this day, temples, government offices, markets and private houses hung the lotus lanterns. This signified the enlightening of the world that is filled with agony, foolishness and darkness, and prayers to Buddha as well as prosperity and peace of the state and the royal family. Also staged at the festival were various folk entertainment. Men and women of all ages participated in this festival held in a joyous atmosphere.

Magnifying Glass

The Civil Service Exams Were the Shortcut to Success

The civil service examinations of Goryeo which were employed to appoint government officials were comprised of four subjects:‘jesul-gwa’,‘ myeonggyeong-gwa’,‘ jap-gwa’and‘ seung-gwa’.‘ Jesul-gwa’evaluated the candidates on the basis of their ability to compose in set Chinese literary forms while‘ myeonggyeong-gwa’examined knowledge of Confucian classics. The ‘Jesul-gwa’examination was deemed the higher. ‘Jap-gwa’examined candidates for specialization while‘ seung-gwa’ examined candidates for Buddhist monks. Those who passed the civil service exam did not immediately serve in the central government. In principle, successful candidates were appointed to head local units within three or four years of passing the exam and they had to serve for 20 to 30 years before they actually attained high posts. However, becoming a government official was a guarantee to wealth, power and honor. As payment for serving the state, the government officials were given land to engage in agriculture and forest land to derive firewood. They were also given rice and barley twice a year as part of the salary.

Yeondeunghoe of today (April 8th - lunar calendar)
Yeondeunghoe of today (April 8th - lunar calendar)
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단원 들어가기
한국사 918 고려 건국 935 신라 멸망 936 후삼국 통일 1019 귀주 대첩 1126 이자겸의 난 1135 묘청의 서경 천도 운동 1170 무신 정변 1231 몽골의 침입 1236 고려 대장경 제작(~1251) 1388 위화도 회군 세계사 960 송의 건국 1192 일본, 가마쿠라 막부 성립 1206 징기즈칸의 몽골 통일 1338 영국과 프랑스의 백년 전쟁(~1453) 1368 원의 멸망과 명의 건국
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단원 요약
고려는 후삼국을 통일하고 발해 유민을 받아들여 한민족 전체를 아우른 통일 국가로 발전하였다. 고려는 불교를 국가의 종교로 숭상하고 유교를 통치의 원리로 삼아 중앙 집권적인 통치 체제를 확립하였다. 고려는 거란, 여진, 몽골 등의 침입을 받아 어려움을 겪었지만 이를 슬기롭게 극복하면서, 고려 대장경, 고려청자와 같은 세계적인 문화 유산을 남겼다. 나아가 개방적인 대외 정책을 통해 고려(코리아)의 이름이 세계에 널리 알려지게 되었다.
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Goryeo unified the Later Three Kingdoms, accepted the displaced people of Balhae and united all the people of Korea. Goryeo officially recognized Buddhism as the state religion, while establishing Confucianis as the principle for ruling. Goryeo struggled under invasions from the Khitan, the Jurchen and the Mongols, and wisely overcame these hardships. It left behind such great cultural heritages as the Tripitaka Koreana and Goryeo celadon. Furthermore, through its open foreign policies, it succeeded in making the name Goryeo (Corea) widely known throughout the world.
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