A custom burning daljip during the night of Jeongwol Daeboreum in Songsan Village of Songcheon-ri, Woldeung-myeon, Suncheon, Jeollanam-do Province.
The tradition of burning a daljip in Songsan Village has been transmitted from generation to generation and happily enjoyed by the villagers. It was designated as Intangible Cultural Property No. 24 of Jeollanam-do Province as of January 31, 1994.
Songcheon Daljiptaeugi is a combination of various seasonal customs. It has been passed down along with the Dangsan Ritual, Juldarigi (tug-of-war), and farmers’ music as a seasonal folk tradition of Jeongwol Daeboreum (the 15th of the first lunar month). This village has two dangsans (shrines) in two different locations. With a nongakdae (famers’ music troupe), villagers perform the Dangsan Ritual at dangsans and conduct a round of Juldarigi with an amjul and a sutjul prepared beforehand. Juldarigi, wherein all the villagers participate, determines not only the winning team, but also who should carry the burden of making a daljip. In other words, the losing team of the Juldarigi has to go to a mountain to collect bamboo and pine twigs to make a daljip.
The first step of creating a daljip is to collect bamboo and pine trees. People left at the village visit all the households to collect bundles of straw or dried firewood. Afterward, at a large vacant lot, bamboo poles are stood in a cone shape and tied together at the top. The empty space between the poles is also filled with bundles of straw, or dried firewood, that readily burn. Also, the outside is covered by pine needles and straw, starting from the bottom to a high point, as tall as a person. In particular, a gap called the daljipmun (the door of a daljip) is made on the eastern side, which faces the rising moon. The villagers believe that their daljip should be taller and burn longer than those of the other villages. Therefore, they try to build it to be as tall and as large as possible. To prolong the period of burning, a tree trunk is sometimes deliberatively added into a daljip. Going beyond just a mere belief, the size of the dajip in the year determines the power relationship with the neighboring villages throughout the year, as the village with the tallest daljip that burned the longest used to domineer over the other villages.
In the past, kites that children used to fly during the winter were tied up to a daljip and were let free as the daljip and the connecting line burned off. These kites were called aengmagiyeon (kite used as a charm against evil influence) designed with a written Chinese character, “aek, ” meaning evil spirit (厄). These kites were released to protect people from aeks. Also, those who had fallen ill or were caught in samjae (three years of misfortune) put their underwear to a daljip to burn them together. These days, people generally put papers with wishes written on them instead of following the practices of the past. They insert their wish papers into the straw ropes, wrapping the daljip. In short, the focus of the custom shifted from preventing misfortune to bringing good luck.
When a daljip was completed, all the villagers gathered together to play farmers’ music enthusiastically around the time of the moonrise. The society for preserving the custom prepares a ceremonial table in front of the daljip and holds a short ritual. Although the society heads usually led the ceremony, upon the attendance of high-profile figures, including community leaders, they get a chance to bow as well. Following the ritual, villagers circle the daljip and sing along with the chorus, saying “Eoeolssadeorideollong” from the apsori (the line sang by a lead singer) to enjoy their time with each other.
As the moon rises in the eastern sky, multiple people set the daljip on fire with torches. The fire spreads inward from the outside, which is covered with dry straw to ignite a massive ball of flames. The rhythm of the farmers’ music gets faster, and people, once again, yell out the chorus “Eoeolssadeorideollong” with acclamation after the apsori.
As the daljip catches fire, the bundles of dry straw and firewood add firepower, allowing fresh pine trees and gluey resin to burn, generating a black cloud of smoke surging into the sky. Also, burning fresh bamboo poles makes the sound of sputtering fireworks, and sparks scatter, all of which produce spectacular scenery against the night sky. After a while, the bamboo poles fall, lessening the strength of the flame. The people of Songcheon Village believes that the land in the direction of the collapse of the daljip will enjoy a rich harvest. Although Songcheon Daljiptaeugi is a short event at present, all villagers in the past used to enjoy it till dawn amid the playing of farmers’ music.