Top searches


Riddle Contest Against Goblin

This tale narrates the story of a protagonist who wins a riddle contest against dokkaebi (goblin) and takes over the goblin’s land, or receives a favor from the goblin. A man encountered a goblin, who challenged him to a riddle contest, and the man accepted the goblin’s condition that the loser would have to grant the winner’s wish. The goblin gave the first riddle: “How much water does Duman (Tumen) River contain? (Or, how many gourd dippers of water does the pond contain?)” The man answered, “

Korean Folk Literature



A series of farming procedures mimicked, or acted out, by a group of performers to the accompaniment of nongak (farmers’ music) rhythms. Like entertainment-oriented nongak performances called pangut, nongsapuri is performed by a group to entertain an audience. It developed in a systematic way mostly in the northern part of Gyeonggi-do Province and the Yeongdong region, where nongak itself can be called nongsapuri nongak. In some parts of the Yeongnam region, nongsapuri is included as part of pan

Korean Folk Arts


Gijisi Juldarigi

A game using a centipede-shaped rope to drive out bad luck from the centipede-shaped landscape and began among merchants while also played by tens of thousands of people in the marketplace. The rope is made by connecting two 100-meter long male and female ropes and decided a winning team among one representing the upstream area and the other, the downstream. There is no specific record about the origin of Gijisi Juldarigi, however, there are records about the game in The Legend Behind Gijisi Jul

Korean Folk Arts


Iri Nongak

Nongak (farmers’ music) handed down mostly in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do Province. Iri Nongak largely has two lineages: one is the lineage of the Iri Nongak that has designated National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 11-3, and the other is the native nongak passed down in the Iksan area. Iksan is geographically located in the middle of the Honam Udo Nongak and Honam Jwado Nongak regions, while having mutual influence with Chungcheong Nongak via the Geumgang River. For this reason, Iksan Nongak has a

Korean Folk Arts


Between the Old and New

Singugan (Kor. 신구간, Chin. 新舊間, lit. between the old and new) is the approximately one-week long period from the fifth day after the solar term Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, Great Cold) to the third day before the solar term Ipchun (Kor. 입춘, Chin. 立春, Beginning of Spring). On Jeju Island, this is believed to be the only time when one can move or repair one’s house without any harmful consequences. According to folk belief, during this period between Daehan, the last seasonal term of an old year, and

Korean Seasonal Customs


Brother Sister Pagoda

This legend narrates the story of Nammaetap (Brother Sister Pagoda), erected to commemorate a Buddhist monk and a maiden who became sworn siblings and pursued religious discipline until they died on the very same day. According to oral transmission, the protagonist of this legend is Monk Sangwon of late Silla. Sangwon was engaged in religious discipline in a tent put up near the current location of Nammaetap when he happened to meet a maiden, together with whom he practiced religious devotion an

Korean Folk Literature



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