The New Year 2015 is referred to as ‘Eulminyeon’ or ‘Year of the Sheep.’ The sheep is the eighth in the group of twelve animal guardian deities collectively known as the Sibijisin, which literally means "Twelve (sibi) Gods of the Earth (jisin)." The animals of the Sibijisin are the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog and pig.
In ancient times, Koreans had referred to the twelve animals to measure the hours of the day. For example, the hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. had been called "Myosi" (Time of the Rabbit), and the hours between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. "Misi" (Time of the Sheep). The entire day had been divided into twelve different "times," each represented by one of the twelve animals. Also, the animals had been thought to represent directions. As the animals have long been revered as guardians against evil spirits, their statues have been built around many royal tombs and sites.
Moreover, each year is marked by a jisin; since there are twelve jisins, the cycle repeats every 12 years. It is traditionally believed that people possess the personality of the animal that marks their birth year. Therefore, the year and the time of birth are often used to determine one’s personality and fate.
|The mouse is the most active during Jasi.|
|The cow chews cud during Chuksi in preparation for the next morning's work in the field.|
|The tiger is the most ferocious during Insi.|
|During Myosi, before the sunrise, the rabbit can be seen on the moon.|
|During Jinsi, the dragon gathers the clouds to bring rain.|
|The snake sleeps during Sasi, and will not harm anyone.|
|During Osi, the “yang” (male) energy turns into the “yin” (female) energy. The horse that gallops across the earth, which is the ‘yin’, represents the time.|
|Misi is the ideal time for the sheep to graze without harming the grass.|
|The monkey cries the most during Sinsi.|
|The chicken returns to its nest during Yusi.|
|As the sun sets during Sulsi, the dog begins guarding its house.|
|The pig sleeps the most deeply during Haesi.|
* Directions: N-North, S-South, E-East, W-West
*Above story is related to Korea’s traditional ideology
Last updated on November 20, 2014