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01

Iri Nongak

Nongak (farmers’ music) handed down mostly in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do Province. Iri Nongak largely has two lineages: one is the lineage of the Iri Nongak that has designated National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 11-3, and the other is the native nongak passed down in the Iksan area. Iksan is geographically located in the middle of the Honam Udo Nongak and Honam Jwado Nongak regions, while having mutual influence with Chungcheong Nongak via the Geumgang River. For this reason, Iksan Nongak has a

Korean Folk Arts

02

Between the Old and New

Singugan (Kor. 신구간, Chin. 新舊間, lit. between the old and new) is the approximately one-week long period from the fifth day after the solar term Daehan (Kor. 대한, Chin. 大寒, Great Cold) to the third day before the solar term Ipchun (Kor. 입춘, Chin. 立春, Beginning of Spring). On Jeju Island, this is believed to be the only time when one can move or repair one’s house without any harmful consequences. According to folk belief, during this period between Daehan, the last seasonal term of an old year, and

Korean Seasonal Customs

03

Dukkeobijip Jitgi Nori

A game making cave-shaped houses by placing and patting wet dirt or sand over the back of one hand, and then slowly trying to remove it. Also called, Moraejip Jitgi Nori, this iconic folk game of Korea has children making houses with dirt or sand. First, the player places wet dirt or sand on the back of one hand, and then pats the dirt with the other hand to mold it into a solid structure. The patting takes patience and attention since the hand below dirt needs to be remain still throughout the

Korean Folk Arts

04

Weaving Games

Gilssam nori (Kor. 길쌈놀이, lit. weaving game) refers to different kinds of entertainment enjoyed by Korean women in the past during weaving competitions. These competitions began early in the seventh lunar month and ended on Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month). The custom is also known as duresam (Kor. 두레삼), gilssam dure (Kor. 길쌈두레), gongdong jeongma (Kor. 공동적마, Chin. 共同績麻), and deulge (Kor. 들게), and included telling tales, dancing, singing, and p

Korean Seasonal Customs

05

General Gang Gam-chan

This legend, in different variations, depicts Gang Gam-chan (948-1031), the renowned military commander of Goryeo known as one of the three greatest generals in Korean history, as a supernatural hero. Gang’s mythical accomplishments are recorded in documents and publications including Bohanjip (Collection of Writings to Relieve Idleness) of Goryeo; Yongjaechonghwa (Assorted Writings of Yongjae) of early Joseon; and Haedongijeok (Extraordinary Lives from East of the Sea) of Joseon. Haedongijeok,

Korean Folk Literature

06

General Nam I Ritual

Nam I Janggun Sadangje (Kor. 남이장군사당제, Chin. 南怡將軍祠堂祭, lit. service at the Shrine of General Nam I) refers to a ceremony that honors the memory of the famous general Nam I (1441-1468) of the early Joseon period (1392- 16th century). Nam I, a brave general who was accused of treason and executed, was deified and worshipped in the shamanistic faith of the central regions along with other illustrious military heroes of the past, such as Choe Yeong (1316-1388) and General Im Gyeong-eop (1594-1646). Th

Korean Seasonal Customs

07

Prickly Castor-Oil Tree

Eomnamu, or prickly castor-oil tree, particularly its thorny branches, are used in Korean folk religion to chase away evil spirits and illnesses. Kalopanax septemlobus, common name prickly castor-oil tree, is a deciduous tree in the family Araliaceae, which grows around Korea, Japan and China. Its branches are prickly with thorns, believed to scare away evil spirits and diseases, and are hung over gates or room doors in homes at Seol (Lunar New Year). Another related custom is to take malaria pa

Korean Folk Beliefs