Gamnae Gejuldanggigi

Gamnae Gejuldanggigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer NamSungjin(南聖辰)

A variation of tug-of-war that has been passed down in Gamcheon-ri (Gamnae) of Bubuk-myeon, Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, where the team members hitch a rope, knotted in the shape of a crab, around the shoulders while facing opposite directions from each other, and then crawl forward tugging the rope.

Gamcheon was a stream known for a good haul of crab, and the local residents used to fight amongst other for a good spot catching the crabs. The elders of the community would then step forth in efforts to resolve the fighting and suggested a game of tug-of-war using a rope knotted in the shape of a crab to decide who gets the sought-after spot. The game essentially ended the hostility between rivaling community members and served as a means of competition that saw the beginning of the Gamnae Gejuldanggigi tradition. As crab production gradually increased over time, the game tradition was last celebrated in the 1920s before ceasing entirely. Following the country’s modernization, the game soon made its return as a way to determine those that must mend the reservoirs or farm roads during the agricultural off-season, including holidays such as Jeongwol Daeboreum (the first full moon of the lunar calendar) and Chirwol Baekjung.

Unlike a typical game of tug-of-war where teams face each other, team members hitch a rope around the shoulders while facing opposite directions from each other, and then crawl forward tugging the rope. The rope also takes the characteristic, circular shape of a crab after being knotted together, differing from the straight rope used in tug-of-war, with long pieces of the rope dangling like crab legs. The rope is made of tough, straw rope with the “body” of the crab shape in a circle, two meters in diameter. The “legs” then extend from the body using side rope, varying from 8 m, 10 m, and 12 m in length, protruding from both sides of the circular figure. The number of side ropes vary upon the number of participants. The types of rope differ in size from a mini-sized for two people, and a six-person rope for one team of three on each side, to a ten-person rope for two teams of five, and a twenty-person rope for two teams of ten. Tools required for game preparation and activity include a jaksubari (a rope holder); a namugusi (a trough used as a drum to excite the crowd); a jige (a Korean A-frame carrier used as musical instrument), a daebal (a bamboo screen used for the matches to fight over the crab catching spots), team flags (a dragon flag of sanggam, and a tiger flag of hagam), and Nongjacheonhajidaebon flags (a phrase meaning “agriculture is the foundation of the country”).

The game involves two teams: sanggam (east side of the town) and hagam (west town side of the town). Following the statements of community elders, game procedure was re-established from around 1970, and currently is comprised of three phases including apnori (pre-game), bonnori (main event [gejuldanggigi]), and dwitnori (post-game). Apnori commences with bakssi halmae dangsanje, which is followed by teobalgi, jeotjuldirigi, nongbarinori, pangut, teoppaeatgi ssaum, and gejureorugi. Those of the community playing the game visit bakssi halmaesadang (a shrine dedicated to the spirit of bakssi halmae) with a group of pungmulkkun (a farmers’ band) in the early morning hours to perform dangsanje (a ritual) for the well-being and prosperity of the community. After that, they move to jangseungbaegi (the location where the game is held) and perform another ancestral rite. Next, the crowd sings oto jisinpuri (a song praising the five gods of the land, protecting all directions) and perform teobalgi (a ceremony to protect the ground from evil spirits). Finally, they dance Miryang deotbaegi to add excitement and place the side ropes on the holder in tandem with the apsori (leading chants). Meanwhile, nongbarinori starts in the main yard, where one person sits down with two more people laying down on each side and tries to use his or her core strength to stand up as the two laying down grab onto each arm. The strongest member of each team is then deemed as the sunongbu (head farmer) as they parade the grounds on the arms of two men, tangling their arms together to form a chair, or simply enjoy the moment by singing Miryang Arirang in tempo with the sound of beating namugusi. Pungmulkkuns carry jiges on the back and add to the beat by beating sticks on the jiges, commonly called jigemokballori. After the fun and celebrations are had, the teoppaeatgi ssaum begins. As a game played prior to gejuldanggigi, the goal of teoppaeatgi ssaum is to fight for the advantage of getting to choose the better starting point main game. The sunongbu of both teams then put a short twoperson rope around their necks and engage in a game of tug-of-war.

Once a winner is determined, the crowd excitedly marches around the yard in a circular motion to the music of pungmulkkuns, before the main event of the gejuldanggigi finally begins. The Juldogam (judge) sounds a gong to initiate the start of the game, which is mostly comprised of twenty people. Ten players from each team put side ropes around their necks after taking their positions on each side. Once the gong is struck, the players crawl forward on their hands and feet like plowing cows, tugging forward as hard as they can. Game time is determined by a count of a hundred, approximating three minutes, and the team that is able to pull the rope further over to their side from the centerline during the given time is declared the winner. If the first game ends in a tie, they play two more games to decide the winning team. The dwitnori, or “hwadongnori, ” takes place following the completion of the game. The losing team is then seated on the ground, while the winning team marches around the yard in song and dance, before going standing the other team up to dance together at the finale.

Gamnae Gejuldanggigi

Gamnae Gejuldanggigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer NamSungjin(南聖辰)

A variation of tug-of-war that has been passed down in Gamcheon-ri (Gamnae) of Bubuk-myeon, Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, where the team members hitch a rope, knotted in the shape of a crab, around the shoulders while facing opposite directions from each other, and then crawl forward tugging the rope.

Gamcheon was a stream known for a good haul of crab, and the local residents used to fight amongst other for a good spot catching the crabs. The elders of the community would then step forth in efforts to resolve the fighting and suggested a game of tug-of-war using a rope knotted in the shape of a crab to decide who gets the sought-after spot. The game essentially ended the hostility between rivaling community members and served as a means of competition that saw the beginning of the Gamnae Gejuldanggigi tradition. As crab production gradually increased over time, the game tradition was last celebrated in the 1920s before ceasing entirely. Following the country’s modernization, the game soon made its return as a way to determine those that must mend the reservoirs or farm roads during the agricultural off-season, including holidays such as Jeongwol Daeboreum (the first full moon of the lunar calendar) and Chirwol Baekjung.

Unlike a typical game of tug-of-war where teams face each other, team members hitch a rope around the shoulders while facing opposite directions from each other, and then crawl forward tugging the rope. The rope also takes the characteristic, circular shape of a crab after being knotted together, differing from the straight rope used in tug-of-war, with long pieces of the rope dangling like crab legs. The rope is made of tough, straw rope with the “body” of the crab shape in a circle, two meters in diameter. The “legs” then extend from the body using side rope, varying from 8 m, 10 m, and 12 m in length, protruding from both sides of the circular figure. The number of side ropes vary upon the number of participants. The types of rope differ in size from a mini-sized for two people, and a six-person rope for one team of three on each side, to a ten-person rope for two teams of five, and a twenty-person rope for two teams of ten. Tools required for game preparation and activity include a jaksubari (a rope holder); a namugusi (a trough used as a drum to excite the crowd); a jige (a Korean A-frame carrier used as musical instrument), a daebal (a bamboo screen used for the matches to fight over the crab catching spots), team flags (a dragon flag of sanggam, and a tiger flag of hagam), and Nongjacheonhajidaebon flags (a phrase meaning “agriculture is the foundation of the country”).

The game involves two teams: sanggam (east side of the town) and hagam (west town side of the town). Following the statements of community elders, game procedure was re-established from around 1970, and currently is comprised of three phases including apnori (pre-game), bonnori (main event [gejuldanggigi]), and dwitnori (post-game). Apnori commences with bakssi halmae dangsanje, which is followed by teobalgi, jeotjuldirigi, nongbarinori, pangut, teoppaeatgi ssaum, and gejureorugi. Those of the community playing the game visit bakssi halmaesadang (a shrine dedicated to the spirit of bakssi halmae) with a group of pungmulkkun (a farmers’ band) in the early morning hours to perform dangsanje (a ritual) for the well-being and prosperity of the community. After that, they move to jangseungbaegi (the location where the game is held) and perform another ancestral rite. Next, the crowd sings oto jisinpuri (a song praising the five gods of the land, protecting all directions) and perform teobalgi (a ceremony to protect the ground from evil spirits). Finally, they dance Miryang deotbaegi to add excitement and place the side ropes on the holder in tandem with the apsori (leading chants). Meanwhile, nongbarinori starts in the main yard, where one person sits down with two more people laying down on each side and tries to use his or her core strength to stand up as the two laying down grab onto each arm. The strongest member of each team is then deemed as the sunongbu (head farmer) as they parade the grounds on the arms of two men, tangling their arms together to form a chair, or simply enjoy the moment by singing Miryang Arirang in tempo with the sound of beating namugusi. Pungmulkkuns carry jiges on the back and add to the beat by beating sticks on the jiges, commonly called jigemokballori. After the fun and celebrations are had, the teoppaeatgi ssaum begins. As a game played prior to gejuldanggigi, the goal of teoppaeatgi ssaum is to fight for the advantage of getting to choose the better starting point main game. The sunongbu of both teams then put a short twoperson rope around their necks and engage in a game of tug-of-war.

Once a winner is determined, the crowd excitedly marches around the yard in a circular motion to the music of pungmulkkuns, before the main event of the gejuldanggigi finally begins. The Juldogam (judge) sounds a gong to initiate the start of the game, which is mostly comprised of twenty people. Ten players from each team put side ropes around their necks after taking their positions on each side. Once the gong is struck, the players crawl forward on their hands and feet like plowing cows, tugging forward as hard as they can. Game time is determined by a count of a hundred, approximating three minutes, and the team that is able to pull the rope further over to their side from the centerline during the given time is declared the winner. If the first game ends in a tie, they play two more games to decide the winning team. The dwitnori, or “hwadongnori, ” takes place following the completion of the game. The losing team is then seated on the ground, while the winning team marches around the yard in song and dance, before going standing the other team up to dance together at the finale.