2016 Jongmyodaeje: Korea’s Royal Ancestral Ritual That Travelers Shouldn’t Miss on May 1st

About Jongmyo Shrine

Located on the east of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine of the Joseon Dynasty that is designated by UNESCO as world cultural assets in 1995. It is a historic site where a royal ancestral ritual to honor the past kings and queens was held during the Joseon Dynasty. Comprised of  Jeongjeon (Main Hall), Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace) and Gongsindang (Hall of Meritorious Subjects), Jongmyo is where royal spirit tablets are enshrined today.3694379764_f95a7df222_zIf you visit Jongmyo shrine, you will see a building that has a long, horizontal roof line and a wide frontal facade. Look how beautiful and elegant it is!
8207692815_bc722bb9f5_zThe original structure was built by King Taejo in 1395, however, was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in 1592. So what you will be seeing is the new shrine that was built in 1608.
16535837709_52a0d05a66_bPreviously, Jongmyo only referred to Jeongjeon, but in 1421, after the death of King Jeongjong, additional space was needed for royal ancestral tablets and so Yeongyeonjeon was built to accommodate them. Today, Jongmyo refers to both Jeongjeon and Yeongyeonjeon. Click here for directions.

About Jongmyodaeje (Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite)

16534390528_bbe3cd86ef_bJongmyodaeje (종묘대제)‘, or Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite, is a traditional Korean ritual that is held every year on the first Sunday of May, to honor the past kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty.
16720883172_05ec0d4b0e_bTravelers and tourists shouldn’t miss this ceremony because it is the only ceremony in the world that is preserved almost in their original forms. It will be a golden opportunity for you to witness the traditional ritual that has been carried out more than 500 years since 1464. Mark May 1st on your calendar right now! 😉21532094330_466b852892_zEach procedure of Jongmyo Daejae, also known as ‘Jaerye’, is accompanied by ‘Jaeryeak’, a ritual music performance played with traditional instruments, and Ilmu, the Royal Ritual Dance performed by 64 female dancers. Jaerye is conducted in the order of greeting, serving, and bidding farewell to the spirits. For more information on the procedures, click here.15615977526_f66f0d7389_zThe most well-known part of the ceremony is the ‘eogahaengnyeol (어가행렬)’, which is a royal parade that proceeds across the heart of Seoul, from Gyeongbokgung Palace to Jongmyo Shrine. There will be plenty of spectators, which means you will have to get to the parade route early if you want to see this fabulous parade!16534538260_d76be8a44c_b

Performance Times

  1. Yeongnyeongjeon Jehyang Rituals: 10:00-12:00
  2. Eoga Haengnyeol (Royal Parade): 11:00-12:00
  3. Jeongjeon, Gongsindang Jehyang Rituals: 14:00-16:30

Additional Events

Eogahaengnyeol (Royal Procession), Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace), Jeongjeon (Main Hall), Gongsindang (Hall of Meritorious Subjects)

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Photo Credits
Jongmyo Jerye(종묘 제례) via photopin (license)
Jongmyo Shrine via photopin (license)
Jongmyo via photopin (license)
Jongmyo Shrine via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_16 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_24 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_23 via photopin (license)
Chilgungje_20141027_04 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Concert_20150926_13 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_20 via photopin (license)


    1. Hello Jerry! We recommend you visit Jongmyo, the main venue of the event, if you want to see the ritual. You can find directions and map via the link: https://www.trazy.com/spot/118/. The royal parade called ‘eogahaengnyeol (어가행렬)’, which proceeds Gyeongbokgung Palace to Jongmyo Shrine is the most well-known part of the ceremony and so you may want to see the parade and head to Jongmyo to see the ritual. Hope this answers your question! 🙂

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