Korean shamanism focuses on solving the problems of daily life through communication between humans and the spiritual world, with shamans acting as liaisons. Shamanistic rituals and rites (referred to as ‘gut’ in Korean) still hold much significance and are still widely observed today.
The 'gut' is a rite in which the shaman offers a sacrifice to the spirits and, through singing and dancing, begs them to intercede in the fortunes of the world. The shaman wears a colorful ritual costume, speaks while in a trance as a spiritual oracle, and sings and dances to the accompaniment of music.
There are three characters that are necessary to perform the 'gut': those from the spirit world, believers praying to those spirits, and the shaman mediating between the spirits and the believers. Specifics of the 'gut' vary depending on the ‘gut’s’ region of origin and the expressed purpose of the ‘gut,’ but the most representative shamanistic rites are the 'byeolsin gut,' which asks the gods for peace and an abundant harvest, the 'byeong gut,' for the recovery of sick family members, and the 'nara gut,' which asks the gods to meet the needs of the king. There is also the 'village gut' that brings together local townspeople to perform ancestral rites ceremonies; festivals are also held to bring regions together. Gangneung is one area that still holds the 'Gangneung Dano Gut' every May 5th of the Lunar Calendar.