Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game rolling thick wire rims, rims of bicycle wheels, or rims of round containers with sticks.

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was named Gulleongsoe (iron rolling game, or an iron rim to roll), because of the way it is played. While the game was played nationwide, its origin remains unclear. It is believed that people started playing it first with the rims of liquor barrels, or the pots, to store urine named janggun (also called ojumjanggun, somae janggun, ojumchumari). The rims used to play Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori were made of wood (pine tree root, green bamboo, bush clover stem, acacia tree, bamboo tree, etc.) in the past, however, it evolved to metal rims (iron or aluminum) in later periods. The metal rims were mostly made of bicycle or handcart wheels, oil drums, or thick wires.

The first recorded history about Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was written in Joseonui Hyangtoorak (The Folk Games of Joseon, published in 1936). According to the book, it was one of the local children’s games in the Gaeseong region of Gyeonggi-do Province. In the late 1980s, bicycles and handcarts came into use in rural communities as well, and Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was played widely, using the old wheels of rides. Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was enjoyed in many places, including the city outskirts and rural areas, while the game earned its spot as a traditional game of Korea, once it became a part of the childhood memory of among today’s adult population.

The size of gulleongsoes varied. Children used small ones, while older players used larger ones. Once a gulleongsoe was made, a stick was needed to roll it. A bicycle rim could be rolled with a simple wooden stick, because it had a groove in the middle. However, gulleongsoes made of wires, or wood, required a stick made of a thick wire with a U-shaped head. Regardless of the stick material, the ideal angle of the stick to roll gulleongsoes was 90 degrees to the ground. The game was mostly played by a single person, but could also be played in groups. Since the players had to keep moving around right and left to prevent falling, playing gulleongsoe in narrow places was much harder than playing it in open places. Gicha Nori was a way to play the game in groups, involving the players running in line while grabbing the waist of the person in front with the left hand. Another way of group play was a relay competition between multiple teams. There was a version called Jeoncha Nori, involving the drawing of lines on the ground and rolling a gulleongsoe along them, while changing players at the points where the lines intersected. Children not rolling a gulleongsoe grabbed the waist of the child rolling it and followed behind, and they could either get on or off the “train” at each stop. Players sang a song when gulleongsoe was played in group, “Round and around, gulleongsoe, to where are you rolling?”

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori became known internationally by a child rolling a gulleongsoe at the opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympic Games. Children of India and Thailand play similar games, rolling wheels by hands or short sticks, yet seldom use long sticks to control the movement as Koreans do. It takes a lot of practice to learn Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori properly. Today, Korean children do not have the time to practice it, and while watching them play the game, they seem very unskillful as it is hard to distinguish whether they are rolling the gulleongsoe, or just following it.

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game rolling thick wire rims, rims of bicycle wheels, or rims of round containers with sticks.

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was named Gulleongsoe (iron rolling game, or an iron rim to roll), because of the way it is played. While the game was played nationwide, its origin remains unclear. It is believed that people started playing it first with the rims of liquor barrels, or the pots, to store urine named janggun (also called ojumjanggun, somae janggun, ojumchumari). The rims used to play Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori were made of wood (pine tree root, green bamboo, bush clover stem, acacia tree, bamboo tree, etc.) in the past, however, it evolved to metal rims (iron or aluminum) in later periods. The metal rims were mostly made of bicycle or handcart wheels, oil drums, or thick wires.

The first recorded history about Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was written in Joseonui Hyangtoorak (The Folk Games of Joseon, published in 1936). According to the book, it was one of the local children’s games in the Gaeseong region of Gyeonggi-do Province. In the late 1980s, bicycles and handcarts came into use in rural communities as well, and Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was played widely, using the old wheels of rides. Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was enjoyed in many places, including the city outskirts and rural areas, while the game earned its spot as a traditional game of Korea, once it became a part of the childhood memory of among today’s adult population.

The size of gulleongsoes varied. Children used small ones, while older players used larger ones. Once a gulleongsoe was made, a stick was needed to roll it. A bicycle rim could be rolled with a simple wooden stick, because it had a groove in the middle. However, gulleongsoes made of wires, or wood, required a stick made of a thick wire with a U-shaped head. Regardless of the stick material, the ideal angle of the stick to roll gulleongsoes was 90 degrees to the ground. The game was mostly played by a single person, but could also be played in groups. Since the players had to keep moving around right and left to prevent falling, playing gulleongsoe in narrow places was much harder than playing it in open places. Gicha Nori was a way to play the game in groups, involving the players running in line while grabbing the waist of the person in front with the left hand. Another way of group play was a relay competition between multiple teams. There was a version called Jeoncha Nori, involving the drawing of lines on the ground and rolling a gulleongsoe along them, while changing players at the points where the lines intersected. Children not rolling a gulleongsoe grabbed the waist of the child rolling it and followed behind, and they could either get on or off the “train” at each stop. Players sang a song when gulleongsoe was played in group, “Round and around, gulleongsoe, to where are you rolling?”

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori became known internationally by a child rolling a gulleongsoe at the opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympic Games. Children of India and Thailand play similar games, rolling wheels by hands or short sticks, yet seldom use long sticks to control the movement as Koreans do. It takes a lot of practice to learn Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori properly. Today, Korean children do not have the time to practice it, and while watching them play the game, they seem very unskillful as it is hard to distinguish whether they are rolling the gulleongsoe, or just following it.