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Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation

home > Revival of Old Palace Events > Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony

Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony

Ceremonies for the opening and closing of palace gates and guard changes

The people who guarded the gate of the palace were called "Sumungun(Gatekeepers)," and their leader was Sumunjang. Sumunjang(the chief gatekeeper) in the Joseon Dynasty lead the guards of the main gates of Joseon's capital, as well as the gates of Joseon Royal palaces. In order to close guard the palace, Sumunjang was established in 1469 during the reign of King Yejong of Joseon Dynasty, and was systematized by the Joseon constitution(Gyeonggukdaejeon).
Through historical investigation of documents, these ceremonies are reenacted.

Introduction to Ceremonies

  • Period: January 1 ~ December 31 (closed on Tuesdays)
    • 6 times per day, every hour on the hour starting at 10:00 (10:00~16:00)
  • Place: Square in front of Heungnyumun Gate at Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Main Events:
    • Ceremonies for the opening and closing of palace gates, guard changes
  • Host: The Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural Properties, Korea
  • Auxiliary Events:
    • Ceremonies for the opening and closing of palace gates, guard changes
  • For more information, please visit our website at or call to +82-(0)2 3210-1645

Event Procedures

  • The opening and closing ceremony for Gungseongmun (the royal gate)
    • Sameom (the bell) is rung.
    • After Dangha of Dochongbu, Juseo of Seungjeongwon, and Sayak of Aekjeongseo enter, Dangha of Dochongbu salutes the Sumunjang, completes a procedure confirming discontinuation, and then instructs him to take the key out of the Yaksiham (a box containing a palace gate key).
    • The Sumunjang receives the key and instructs to open and close the palace gate.
    • When the gate is open, the Yoryeongjang (a military officer), who was on standby outside the gate, enters.
    • The Yoryeongjang and the Sumunjang confirm their Pae (ID) with each other and salute.
    • After the salutation, duties are transferred, relief procedures for the Yoryeonggun are performed, and they line up.
    • After entry of the Yoryeongjang and the Yoryeonggun, the Sukjinkgun arranges the lines and prepares to leave.
  • he opening and closing ceremony for Gungseongmun photo
  • Sumunjang Shift Ceremony
    • Jungeom (the drum) is beaten.
    • Sumunjangs of the guards saluted each other, confirm Pae of each Sumunjang and salute again.
    • The Sumunjangs horizontally hold Deungchae, or batons, with both hands, and salute each other.
    • After the salutation, duties such as civil petitions of Chulmunbu and Gweham are transferred.
    • After the salutation, the old Sujongjang and the new Sujongjang confirm their Sujongjangpae (ID), and salute each other.
    • The new Sujongjang goes up to Mullu (a gate pavilion) on the second floor, and begins his duty.
    • After performing the relief procedures between old the Sumungun and the new Sumungun, Sumungun that was on duty leaves under the baton of the old Sumunjang.
  • Sumunjang Shift Ceremony photo