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01

New Year’s Flag Greetings

Gisebae (Kor. 기세배, Chin. 旗歲拜, lit. New Year’s flag greetings) is a custom observed during Jeongwol Daeboreum (Kor. 정월대보름, Great Full Moon Festival) with the purpose of praying for an abundant harvest. As its name implies, the custom involves the use of flags that are referred to as nongsingi (Kor. 농신기, Chin. 農神旗, lit. farming god flag). Gisebae is also known under other names such as nonggi sebae (Kor. 농기세배, Chin. 農旗歲拜, lit. greetings of farming flags), nonggi bbaetgi (Kor. 농기뺏기, Chin. 農旗-, lit.

Korean Seasonal Customs

02

Three-Legged Crow

The legend of “Samjogo” narrates the story of an imaginary bird with three legs, believed to live on the sun, or to symbolize the sun. According to Chinese records, the concept of the three-legged crow came from the observation that the black spot on the sun resembled a crow, and that the number three in traditional cosmology indicates light, or yang energy, or that the number three itself indicates the sun. In Korea, images of the three- legged crow have been found in murals of Goguryeo tombs N

Korean Folk Literature

03

Nongsapuri

A series of farming procedures mimicked, or acted out, by a group of performers to the accompaniment of nongak (farmers’ music) rhythms. Like entertainment-oriented nongak performances called pangut, nongsapuri is performed by a group to entertain an audience. It developed in a systematic way mostly in the northern part of Gyeonggi-do Province and the Yeongdong region, where nongak itself can be called nongsapuri nongak. In some parts of the Yeongnam region, nongsapuri is included as part of pan

Korean Folk Arts

04

Japsaek

A member of the nongak (farmers’ music) troupe dressed as a certain character who acts out various skits. Japsaek (Kor. 잡색, Chin. 雜色, lit. mixed colors) are referred to as the dwitchibae, the actors who lead a nongak performance along with apchibae, who play musical instruments, the bearers of different flags including the farming community flag (nonggi) and command flag (yeonggi), and the player of the double-reed oboe (saenapsu). The japsaek lead the second half of the performance (dwitgut) ra

Korean Folk Arts

05

Hwagatu

A game competing the number of memorized traditional three-verse Korean poems, written in cards spread out on the floor. The literal meaning of Hwagatu is to compete with flower-like songs (or sijo, traditional three-verse poem)., indicating its aim of competing the number of memorized sijo. As some elders in their seventies remember playing Hwagatu in the past, the game was still clearly played widely following the liberation from the Japanese Occupation in 1945. Every remaining Hwagatu card is

Korean Folk Arts

06

Dokdo

Dokdo legends narrate the stories surrounding the eighty-nine islands in Dokdo-ri, part of the village of Ulleung, in Ulleung County, North Geyongsang Province. One of the legends related to Dokdo is“ Gumeongbawi (Hole Rock), ”about a rock located off the shore of Cheonbu Village, which was originally on the waters off Hyeonpo Village. An elderly villager with mighty powers tied up the rock to a boat and tried to take it to faraway waters. But the rock would not be pulled away, and the old man,

Korean Folk Literature

07

Nat Chigi Nori

A game throwing sickles at trees to hang or stick from a certain distance while cutting a tree and/or grass on a mountainside. Nat Chigi Nori was typically enjoyed by grown children or teenagers. In the past, cutting grass and trees was part of the mundane every life of children in farming or mountain villages. Grass was fed to cows or used to make compost for farming, while trees were used as firewood. As such, cutting grass and trees was an important task in traditional societies. However, thi

Korean Folk Arts