Fund-raising Performance with a Flag
Hogi (Kor. 호기, Chin. 呼旗) is a fund-raising activity carried out by children in anticipation of Shakyamuni’s Birthday, designed to raise money for the Lantern Festival. Days before Shakyamuni’s Birthday, village children would gather to create paper flags and drums made from fish skin. Children beat these drums and marched around the town carrying a long pole with a paper flag at the top at the head of this procession. As they marched, they would loudly solicit donations. Rice and hemp collected by this means were used to cover the costs of the lantern celebrations.
The name hogi nori (Kor. 호기놀이, Chin. 呼旗戱) refers to performances re-enacting scenes from this fund-raising, with humorous choreography. Hogi nori is a merrymaking activity of children. These performances were marked with religious significance and were very popular until the early Joseon period (1392-16th century). Later, they were discouraged by the anti-Buddhist policies of the ruling dynasty, and hogi nori gradually vanished from popular practice. Nevertheless, the custom of hanging lanterns on poles with a flag at the top, widely practiced on Shakyamuni’s Birthday during the Joseon period, is believed to have derived from the flagpole used during hogi.