Danojang (Kor. 단오장, Chin. 端午粧, lit. Dano decoration) refers to the custom of adorning oneself on the day of Dano (Kor. 단오, Chin. 端午, the fifth of the fifth lunar month) in order to ward off evil spirits. According to the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), women washed their hair and face, and took a bath with an extract prepared by boiling changpo (a variety of iris, Kor. 창포, Chin. 菖蒲, Acorus calamus var. angustatus), wore red and green clothes, and stuck changpo hairpins in their hair. The “Sesi Japgi” (Kor. 세시잡기, Chin. 歲時雜記, Miscellaneous Seasonal Customs) documents that on the day of Dano, people gave their children a doll made of changpo leaves or had them wear a gourd-shaped ornament as a charm against evil. In some regions such ornaments were worn by adults as well.
According to Korean folk belief, washing one’s hair with changpo extract on Dano helped maintain healthy shiny hair and prevented hair loss. Some even collected dew drops from changpo leaves in the early morning of the day and used them as a skin toner. People wore special festive clothes, as they did on New Year’s Day; these clothes were usually the best clothes in their wardrobe. The most popular attire for women on that day was a green jacket with a red skirt or a white ramie jacket and a blue ramie skirt.