Grandmother Mireok in the Gwangyang Shrine
The birth of life is sublime. Many couples in Jeju offered prayers to have a baby. A shrine with Maitreya Bodhisattva, a Buddhist temple or the shrine grandmother is where residents often go to pray.
There was a Maitreya shrine in Wuisaemi, Jeju City, where a stone statue of Mitreya was enshrined. The statue was flanked by the grandmother water of Maitreya Bodhisattva, or the Grandmother Saengbul who was believed to govern childbirth as well as a guardian for a spring water next to the shrine. However, this shrine was buried deep into the soil during land development projects in the past and Maitreya Bodhisattva who governed childbirth no longer exists except in photographs.
Geumjul– Gold String
When a baby was born, a string called a gumjul was hung at the entrance of the house to prevent other people from entering the house. It was a way of protecting a baby from evil spirits. If it was a boy, the string contained char and cayenne peppers. If it was a girl, a geumjul with char was hung. People did not visit the house for the first 21 days of a baby's life except on urgent business.
Botdwechangot refers to the traditional baby outfit called a benetgeogory (a traditional baby clothing) which a new-born baby wears for the first time. It is made of hemp cloth and is similar to a traditional Korean jacket. The botdwechangot clothing is a simplified version without a collar strip and an outer collar. Goreum, or laces were made of twisted cotton thread that represented longevity. The clothes were sewn right after the birth and the baby was dressed in it for 21 days from the third day of life. Usually the grandmother on the father's side made it for her grandchild or sometimes a revered woman in town made it for the baby. A son's outfit was later passed on to other babies, but a daughter's or a bed-ridden baby's was not.