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Hemp cloth banner

A hemp cloth hung upon a long bamboo pole and used as a banner carried before a funeral bier at the time of barin (Kor. 발인, Chin. 發靷, departure of the funeral procession from the home to the burial site). Gongpo is made from a piece of loosely woven hemp, measuring 90 centimeters long, and is made by folding and stitching one of the sides to hold a bamboo pole and attaching a pair of tassels. The banner pole, made of bamboo, has a finial at the top. This banner is used to wipe dust or earth off

Korean Rites of Passage


General Gang Gam-chan

This legend, in different variations, depicts Gang Gam-chan (948-1031), the renowned military com- mander of Goryeo known as one of the three greatest generals in Korean history, as a supernatural hero. Gang’s mythical accomplishments are recorded in documents and publications including Bohan ji p (Collection of Writings to Relieve Idleness) of Goryeo; Yong jaechonghwa (Assorted Writings o f Yong jae) of early Joseon; and Haedongi jeok (Extraordinary Lives f rom East of the Sea) of Joseon. Haedo

Korean Folk Literature


Bride’s post-wedding journey to the groom’s home

Bride’s journey from her maiden home to the groom’s home, where she will spend the rest of her life, after marriage. The time of a bride’s departure for the groom’s home after marriage varies greatly. Some newly married women spent a year at home before going to live with her in-laws for the rest of her life (which is called muk-sinhaeng or haemugi), while others spend a month (dalmugi) or three days (samil-sinhaeng). When the bride moves to the groom’s home the same day as the wedding it is cal

Korean Rites of Passage


Ritual for Big Catch

Pungeoje is the term for rituals held in the coastal regions to pray for peace in the village, safety for the fishermen at sea, and a big catch. Byeolsingut and haesinje are other terms used to refer to this big catch ritual. Prayers for safety and a big catch are offered to the sea deity Yongwang (Dragon King), the procedures generally officiated by a shaman. Byeolsingut of the eastern and southern coasts; pungeoje from the island of Hwangdo off Anmyeondo on the western coast; and haesinje of U

Korean Folk Beliefs


Korean Hacky Sack

Jegi chagi (Kor. 제기차기, lit. hacking jegi) is a game similar to the Western game of hacky sack. It is played by kicking a shuttlecock-like object called a jegi (Kor. 제기) into the air. A seasonal game associated with the Lunar New Year holidays and winter time in general, jegi chagi is mostly played by children. Jegi chagi originates from a ball game called chukguk (Kor. 축국, Chin. 蹴鞠) that dates back to antiquity. Both jegi and jegi chagi are vernacular translations of the Chinese word chukguk. Ch

Korean Seasonal Customs


Flower Card Game

Hwatu (Kor. 화투, Chin. 花鬪, lit. flower fight) is a game played with a deck of forty-eight cards comprising twelve sets of four cards, each set representing one of the twelve months of the year. Each card has images of flowers or plants associated with the corresponding month on its face. Pine trees are the motif of the January cards; plum flowers, February; cherry blossoms, March; black bush clovers, April; orchids, June; peonies, July; red bush clovers, July; full moon, August; chrysanthemums, S

Korean Seasonal Customs


Weaving Games

Gilssam nori (Kor. 길쌈놀이, lit. weaving game) refers to different kinds of entertainment enjoyed by Korean women in the past during weaving competitions. These competitions began early in the seventh lunar month and ended on Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month). The custom is also known as duresam (Kor. 두레삼), gilssam dure (Kor. 길쌈두레), gongdong jeongma (Kor. 공동적마, Chin. 共同績麻), and deulge (Kor. 들게), and included telling tales, dancing, singing, and p

Korean Seasonal Customs