> Korean Food Culture > Annual Customs and
Introduction of Dongji
Dongji is one of
the 24 solar terms and has the longest day and shortest night
of the year. The 24 solar terms express the nature's changes
into 24 equal parts based on the solar calendar, and 'Dongji'
is when the sun's longitude reaches 270 degree.
The Food of Hansik
Patjuk (Red-bean Porridge)
On Dongji, they have kept an old
custom to make red-bean porridge called 'Dongji Patjuk
or Dongji Dusuk (bean porridge). The November's issue
of the ?Dongguksesigi? published in the latter Joseon
period says, "They eat Patjuk on Dongji as they call
it Ase. While making Patjuk as a seasonal food, they
put pieces of glutinous rice cake shaped as a bird's
egg, which has honey inside. This food also goes on
the table for the memorial service and is often thrown
into the door as a gesture to drive away misfortunes."
On Dongji, each family make Patjuk to eat, and this
is made by the process of mashing boiled red-beans or
sieving them and making pieces of glutinous rice cake
with the water the red-beans boiled in as the amount
of bird's eggs would be. This rice cake is called 'Saealsim'.
The finished Patjuk is put in the sanctuary first, and
after putting it on some corners of the house, the members
of the family gather at a place and get to eat it. According
to ?Hyeongchosesigi?, there was a man named Gonggong
who had a son without any talents, and the son died
on Dongji to be an evil spirit. It says that the son
was very afraid of red-beans while he was alive, so
the man made Patjuk on Dongji to drive away the terrible
ghost. This custom is considered to have been transmitted
into ours, but the period of its transmission is unknown.