Miryang Yongho Nori
A game consisting of a fight between ropes, one representing a tiger and the other a dragon, performed on every Jeongwol Daeboreum in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.
The Miryang Yongho Nori is a folk game performed in Muan-ri of Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. The game traces back throughout history, only to have been discontinued during the Japanese Occupation. Later on in the early 1960s, as interest in traditional Korean culture was on the rise, local residents made attempts to restore the game. Muan Village used to be a transportation and trade hub, and since long ago, it has been a trading center for agricultural products with a high volume of people. With this geographical position, games for strengthening unity, including Juldarigi (tug-of-war) and Miryang Yongho Nori, were played in this region from early on. It is commonly accepted that the origin of Miryang Yongho Nori is Juldarigi, while Miryang Yongho Nori is a game bumping two big ropes, with each representing a tiger and a dragon, whose representations stem from the shapes of the guardian mountain of this region. The people thought that the western part of the mountain looked like a seated white tiger, while the eastern part resembled a settled blue dragon. In the beginning, the two teams battled by crashing two ropes carrying the team leaders on the heads of the ropes to determine a winner; by the leaders pushing the opponent down the rope; or a tiger figure and a dragon figure were created and mounted on the top of the rope of its team, where the leaders would then try to steal the figure of the opponent to win. However, in all cases, the game play would often become exceedingly rough, leading to frequent injury. In order to prevent this, the degree of the fight was lessened by first having a boy dressed up as a Yeouiju (an orb that a dragon carries in its mouth) ride on the blue dragon rope, while another boy dressed up as a Geumyang (a golden sheep, 金羊) mounts the white tiger rope. Teams were then fighting to simply take the flag of the opponent to reduce game intensity.
In the past, big ropes for Juldarigi were used for the Miryang Yongho Nori, as well, however, these days, people created giant ropes exclusively for the Miryang Yongho Nori, which have large heads. The head is standing sideways so that if the two ropes bump into each other, both of them soar up into the air. Ropes for Juldarigi are prepared separately and are approximately 100 m in length. One rope requires about 100 people to be carried over their shoulders. Once the ropes exit, a nongakdae (farmers’ music troupe) and supporting villagers surround and follow the ropes with dancing.
Miryang Yongho Nori was typically played at the rice field in front of the Muan Village on Jeongwol Daeboreum but was not the only game to be played. In the past, on the 16th, Juldarigi was played and the Pangut Nori, performed, marking the true conclusion of Boreum Nori.