Gijisi Juldarigi

Gijisi Juldarigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeInhwa(李仁和)

A game using a centipede-shaped rope to drive out bad luck from the centipede-shaped landscape and began among merchants while also played by tens of thousands of people in the marketplace. The rope is made by connecting two 100-meter long male and female ropes and decided a winning team among one representing the upstream area and the other, the downstream.

There is no specific record about the origin of Gijisi Juldarigi, however, there are records about the game in The Legend Behind Gijisi Juldarigi by Gu Jaseong, and a chapter titled, Gijisi Juldarigi, in A Collection of Legends from the Chungnam Region by Choe Mun-hwi. According to the books, the geography of Gijisi took the shape of a centipede, after having been cursed by a thousand-year-old centipede. The residents would play tug-of-war using a centipede-shaped rope every leap year at the area representing the waist of the creature as an attempt to suppress its power. Also, another record that exists in the book, Joseonui Hyangtoorak (The Folk Games of Joseon, published in 1936), by Murayama Jijun. The section of the book on the tug-of-war of Dangjin-gun describes, “The residents believe a legend that playing tug-of-war with a centipede- shaped rope would prevent illness for the rest of the year.” This naturally leads to the assumption that Gijisi Juldarigi was played to prevent bad luck, while unlike in other regions, it was played on mountain ridges or peaks.

Since Gijisi Juldarigi originated at Giji Market, the game was played by merchants or peddlers. It seems the game began at markets opened at along the ridges of mountains as a way of entertainment and to prevent bad luck, which was attributed to the centipede-shaped landscape. The game eventually became a commercial event for merchants and was played at various locations. However, since being designated as a cultural asset, the host and purpose of the game has changed. The Gijisi Juldarigi became a type of ritual to wish for a rich harvest, using a rope that represents a dragon, and was played at a barley field in front of Heungcheok-dong. Later on, thanks to a favorable nationwide reception, the Gijisi Juldarigi Museum and a designated tug-of-war field were built in the south of Gijisi-ri in 2013, and the game has been played at the field ever since.

Gijisi Juldarigi is played on days believed to be free from evil spirits, from the end of February to early March of the lunar calendar each leap year. In 1960, the game was played for three days from March 26 – 28.

The making of the rope used for Gijisi Juldarigi starts a month before the event at a separate place, and the completed rope is moved to the event site. Originally, the rope was made by 15 people with 3, 000 mots (a Korean measurement unit to count straw) of straw (6, 000 mots by way of current measurement). The rope is three meters in circumference, 120 to 130 meters in length. First, a thin dongaba (a strong rope) is made with 30 straws, while a mediumsized rope is made with 50 strands of dongaba, and a wonjul (a main rope) is made with three medium-sized ropes. In total, two wonjuls are made, each representing the upstream or downstream area.

Then, three jeotjul (side ropes), made with 30 straws and 40 to 60 meters in length, are attached to each wonjul. The jeotjul are attached to the middle, therefore, six jeotjul per wonjul are made.

Finally, five ropes, made with 15 straws and 10 meters in length, are attached to each jeotjul.

The male rope has a folded head, and the female rope has a round head. As a result, the heads are made with 300 thin ropes, 1.8 meters in circumference. A centipede-shaped rope is then made by connecting the male and female ropes.

The entire process of creating a 150-meter long large rope using 300 dongabas, each made of 30 straws, consist of Jul Deurigi (twisting the ropes more tightly), Jul Yeokkgi (tying up the ropes as one on a flat ground), Jul Malgi (rolling in the ropes to make one large rope), Mokjul Mandeulgi (making of the round head of the large rope), Jeotjul Maegi (attaching side ropes) and Kkongjijul Mandeulgi (attaching small ropes to the side ropes).

A dedicated machine is used for the making of wonjuls. A wonjul is made with three medium-sized ropes, each made with 50 strands of dongabas. When the ropemaking is complete, hundreds of people move the ropes to the event site to the sound of a village folk band. First, the upstream team starts moving the male rope, before the downstream team follows the first group with the female rope. At the site of the event, the heads of the two ropes are tied with a binyeojang (a long log fixating two large ropes), and then the ropes are unfolded for the battle. Tens of thousands of people start pulling the ropes for about five minutes, before a winning team is decided after the ropes are dragged about two to three meters to one side. Lottery drawings take place after the battle to distribute prizes for the villages represented by the winning team. A yellow cow is given to a village as the first prize, and money and farmer’s flags are given to other villages as the prizes from second to fifth place.

Gijisi Juldarigi features more so the characteristics of a commercial folk game for merchants and a way to prevent calamity, rather than a folk game for farmers to wish for a rich harvest.

Gijisi Juldarigi

Gijisi Juldarigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeInhwa(李仁和)

A game using a centipede-shaped rope to drive out bad luck from the centipede-shaped landscape and began among merchants while also played by tens of thousands of people in the marketplace. The rope is made by connecting two 100-meter long male and female ropes and decided a winning team among one representing the upstream area and the other, the downstream.

There is no specific record about the origin of Gijisi Juldarigi, however, there are records about the game in The Legend Behind Gijisi Juldarigi by Gu Jaseong, and a chapter titled, Gijisi Juldarigi, in A Collection of Legends from the Chungnam Region by Choe Mun-hwi. According to the books, the geography of Gijisi took the shape of a centipede, after having been cursed by a thousand-year-old centipede. The residents would play tug-of-war using a centipede-shaped rope every leap year at the area representing the waist of the creature as an attempt to suppress its power. Also, another record that exists in the book, Joseonui Hyangtoorak (The Folk Games of Joseon, published in 1936), by Murayama Jijun. The section of the book on the tug-of-war of Dangjin-gun describes, “The residents believe a legend that playing tug-of-war with a centipede- shaped rope would prevent illness for the rest of the year.” This naturally leads to the assumption that Gijisi Juldarigi was played to prevent bad luck, while unlike in other regions, it was played on mountain ridges or peaks.

Since Gijisi Juldarigi originated at Giji Market, the game was played by merchants or peddlers. It seems the game began at markets opened at along the ridges of mountains as a way of entertainment and to prevent bad luck, which was attributed to the centipede-shaped landscape. The game eventually became a commercial event for merchants and was played at various locations. However, since being designated as a cultural asset, the host and purpose of the game has changed. The Gijisi Juldarigi became a type of ritual to wish for a rich harvest, using a rope that represents a dragon, and was played at a barley field in front of Heungcheok-dong. Later on, thanks to a favorable nationwide reception, the Gijisi Juldarigi Museum and a designated tug-of-war field were built in the south of Gijisi-ri in 2013, and the game has been played at the field ever since.

Gijisi Juldarigi is played on days believed to be free from evil spirits, from the end of February to early March of the lunar calendar each leap year. In 1960, the game was played for three days from March 26 – 28.

The making of the rope used for Gijisi Juldarigi starts a month before the event at a separate place, and the completed rope is moved to the event site. Originally, the rope was made by 15 people with 3, 000 mots (a Korean measurement unit to count straw) of straw (6, 000 mots by way of current measurement). The rope is three meters in circumference, 120 to 130 meters in length. First, a thin dongaba (a strong rope) is made with 30 straws, while a mediumsized rope is made with 50 strands of dongaba, and a wonjul (a main rope) is made with three medium-sized ropes. In total, two wonjuls are made, each representing the upstream or downstream area.

Then, three jeotjul (side ropes), made with 30 straws and 40 to 60 meters in length, are attached to each wonjul. The jeotjul are attached to the middle, therefore, six jeotjul per wonjul are made.

Finally, five ropes, made with 15 straws and 10 meters in length, are attached to each jeotjul.

The male rope has a folded head, and the female rope has a round head. As a result, the heads are made with 300 thin ropes, 1.8 meters in circumference. A centipede-shaped rope is then made by connecting the male and female ropes.

The entire process of creating a 150-meter long large rope using 300 dongabas, each made of 30 straws, consist of Jul Deurigi (twisting the ropes more tightly), Jul Yeokkgi (tying up the ropes as one on a flat ground), Jul Malgi (rolling in the ropes to make one large rope), Mokjul Mandeulgi (making of the round head of the large rope), Jeotjul Maegi (attaching side ropes) and Kkongjijul Mandeulgi (attaching small ropes to the side ropes).

A dedicated machine is used for the making of wonjuls. A wonjul is made with three medium-sized ropes, each made with 50 strands of dongabas. When the ropemaking is complete, hundreds of people move the ropes to the event site to the sound of a village folk band. First, the upstream team starts moving the male rope, before the downstream team follows the first group with the female rope. At the site of the event, the heads of the two ropes are tied with a binyeojang (a long log fixating two large ropes), and then the ropes are unfolded for the battle. Tens of thousands of people start pulling the ropes for about five minutes, before a winning team is decided after the ropes are dragged about two to three meters to one side. Lottery drawings take place after the battle to distribute prizes for the villages represented by the winning team. A yellow cow is given to a village as the first prize, and money and farmer’s flags are given to other villages as the prizes from second to fifth place.

Gijisi Juldarigi features more so the characteristics of a commercial folk game for merchants and a way to prevent calamity, rather than a folk game for farmers to wish for a rich harvest.