Byeokgolje Ssangnyong Nori
A custom consisting of a fight between a white dragon and a blue dragon, based on the Legend of Danya about the creation of Byeokgolje Reservoir.
Byeokgolje Ssangnyong Nori was based on the Byeokgolje Reservoir (originally a region of Baekje), the reservoir with the longest documented history in Korea. It is related to rice farming and to a religious belief in the dragons of the Gimje and Mangyeong plains, the only plains of Korea that feature a full horizon. Also, it was developed into a play based on the Legend of Danya, a tale involving human sacrifice.
The Legend of Danya is a story of human sacrifice where Danya was sacrificed for the repair of the Byeokgolje Reservoir in 790 (the 6th year of the reign of King Wonseong in Unified Silla). The conflict between the dragon and the residents of the tale expresses the effort of humans in surviving the destructive powers of nature. Moreover, the conflict between other residents and Wondeongnang represents the confrontation between the religious group, believing in the dragon and solved problems with traditional rituals, and civil engineers, pursuing science-based solutions through the use of reason. In addition, the conflict between the taesu (governor-general) and Wondeongnang depicts the collision between a local official catering to public sentiment and an official dispatched by the central government to distribute new knowledge and technology. Therefore, the sacrifice of Danya lends probability to the tradition that human sacrifices were made to build river banks, but they also functioned as an opportunity to settle political and social conflicts in the story. In other words, the Legend of Danya emphasizes the sublime love and the great spirit of sacrifice of Danya, the daughter of the taesu. She resolved the conflict between the Silla and Baekje forces and the central and local aristocrats, as well as the conflict between nature and humanity. Ultimately, she helped realize total social unification by sacrificing herself through her love for Wondeongnang, who was dispatched from Seorabeol (the capital of Silla) for the repair of the Byeokgolje Reservoir.
The Byeokgolje Ssangnyong Nori was designated as local cultural heritage No. 10 of Jeollabuk-do Province in December 1975.
The Byeokgolje Ssangnyong Nori consists of four madangs (chapters). The first madang, which is sung along to songs for labor, such as Malbakgi (Piling), reenacts the banking that ensures a good harvest (through irrigation canals) and safety (through the prevention of floods). The second madang performs the battle between a white dragon (the west) and a blue dragon (the east). The third madang is a play about scarification or a holy wedding with the offering of a virgin in pursuit of conciliation with a dragon. The fourth madang corresponds to a gut (shamanic ritual), or an after-party. Likewise, the Byeokgolje Ssangnyong Nori is a Madang Nori (traditional Korean outdoor performance) that is comprises of an exposition, conflict, crisis, climax, and finale.