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Field Play

Deulnoreum (Kor. 들놀음, Chin. 野遊, lit. field play) is a traditional mask play held during the Great Full Moon Festival (the fifteenth of the first lunar month) in Dongnae-gu and Suyeong-dong of Nam-gu, both located in the Busan administrative area. In the past deulnoreum was generally the name used by the elderly and women in the area, to refer to the mask play, while the “learned people” and the younger people more oftenly referred to it as yaryu (Kor. 야류, Chin. 野遊). Both names mean “outdoor play

Korean Seasonal Customs


Earthenware Jar

Danji is an earthenware jar that is worshipped as a sacred entity enshringing a household god, or as the deity itself. These jars are small and round, bulging around the center, and their names vary according to the enshrined deity. Daegamdanji is the sacred entity for Daegamsin (State Official God), who oversees a family’s material fortune. This jar is usually enshrined in the grain shed, but sometimes in a corner of the inner chamber, the open hall, the kitchen, or outdoors in some cases. The

Korean Folk Beliefs


General Nam I Ritual

Nam I Janggun Sadangje (Kor. 남이장군사당제, Chin. 南怡將軍祠堂祭, lit. service at the Shrine of General Nam I) refers to a ceremony that honors the memory of the famous general Nam I (1441-1468) of the early Joseon period (1392- 16th century). Nam I, a brave general who was accused of treason and executed, was deified and worshipped in the shamanistic faith of the central regions along with other illustrious military heroes of the past, such as Choe Yeong (1316-1388) and General Im Gyeong-eop (1594-1646). Th

Korean Seasonal Customs



The person who holds a flag and leads the nongak (farmers’ music) troupe. Although the main responsibility of the gisu (Kor. 기수, Chin. 旗手, lit. flag bearer) is to lead the nongak troupe by holding a flag, he also plays a major role in flag games or flag battles. The number of gisu is decided by the number of different flags used by each nongak troupe, including the yongdaegi (large dragon flag), nonggi (farming flag), yeonggi (command flag), and danchegi (group flag). The average number of gisu

Korean Folk Arts


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



Drumming and dancing performance of the sogo (small hand-held drum) player(s). The name sogo (Kor. 소고, Chin. 小鼓) literally means “small drum, ” but the instrument actually varies in name and size depending on region. These differences arose because such musical instruments were handmade by the villagers themselves in the past. When making sogo, the villagers used the round frame of a sieve, an everyday implement. Leather was rare, so they also used cloth in place of leather. As cloth produces no

Korean Folk Arts



Spinning of a saucer-shaped object such as a sieve frame, wash basin, or bowl, on a stick using a special device or by hand to the accompaniment of nongak (farmers’ music) rhythms. The origins of beonanori (saucer spinning) can be traced back to the performances of itinerant entertainers such as the namsadangpae of the 20th century. One member of such a troupe testifies that saucer spinning was not part of the original namsadang repertoire. As such, it is presumed that saucer spinning might have

Korean Folk Arts