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01

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

02

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

03

Yeonggi

Of the flags organized for nongak (farmers’ music), the command flag (yeonggi) is deployed at the front of a nongak troupe with the farming flag (nonggi) and leads the way or serves as a messenger. The flag bears the Chinese character 令 (Kor. yeong), meaning “command.” Although yeonggi is mentioned as one of the military flags in the book on strategy “Sokbyeongjangdoseol” (Kor. 속병장도설, Chin. 續兵將圖說, lit. Illustrated Manual of Military Training and Tactics) written in the 18th century, it is not ce

Korean Folk Arts

04

Arrow Throwing

Tuho (Kor. 투호, Chin. 投壺, lit. throwing into a vase) is a game in which players are divided into two teams and throw arrows into a vase placed at a certain distance. The vases into which the arrows are thrown vary both in size and shape. The size of the arrows also differs, and each player is given a set of twelve arrows. Points are earned depending on the proximitiy of the arrow to the center of the vase. The game originated in China prior to the Han dynasty (BCE 206 - CE 220). It is mentioned i

Korean Seasonal Customs

05

Buckwheat Noodles with Seasoning

Goldongmyeon (Kor. 골동면, Chin. 骨董麵) is the name of a dish that consists of buckwheat noodles topped with slices of meat and vegetables and is eaten with a spicy sauce. The word goldong (Kor. 골동, Chin. 骨董) means a variety of ingredients that are mixed together. The seasoning originally was soy sauce-based, but today it is customary to make it from red pepper paste. Goldongmyeon is part of the culinary tradition of cold noodles, or naengmyeon (Kor. 냉면, Chin. 冷麵), popularly eaten in winter (particul

Korean Seasonal Customs

06

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

07

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