Donchigi

Donchigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game throwing coins into a hole from a fixed distance to win the coins in the hole and also hit the coins outside the hole by throwing rocks.

Donchigi was usually played on Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) or Daeboreum (the 15th day of a lunar month), which was probably because children rarely had the chance to get money, except on Seollal when they might receive sebaetdon (a gift of cash on New Year’s Day). The playing method differs depending on the region, but there are common set of rules as explained below.

A big circle is drawn in a yard or vacant lot at a 2 - 3 m distance from a set line, from which players throw coins. In the big circle, a smaller circle is drawn, while some regions dig a hole instead. After drawing the general game area, players throw coins one by one, and the player who throws a coin into the hole wins. Other players are then ranked according to the proximity to the smaller circle and have to give 1 - 2 coins to the winner. The winner then throws coins to the small circle while holding the coins in the other hand. Afterward, depending on the place of the thrown coins, the winner can take the money or pay a penalty, before moving on to the next round. Here, one possible scenario is that the winner manages to throw all coins into the circle and then take all the coins, which rarely happens. The second scenario involves only some coins are tossed into the circle. Here, the winner can take coins only in the circle and has to hit the coins outside the circle, which is designated by others with a mang (palm-sized stone). The coins that the player hits will be given to the player. However, if the player hits a undesignated coin, the player has to pay a coin as a penalty. The third scenario is where one coin falls on to other coins. These coins go to the player without trying to hit the coins outside of the big circle. The fourrth scenario is that there is no coin or no overlapped coin in the circle. A player is required to hit a coin that is designated by others with a mang in order to take the coin. The fifth scenario involves more than half of the coins are outside the big circle, leading to disqualification. Disqualified players are then out for that round without having a chance to throw a mang.

This process is carried out by children, starting with the winner and moving on to the next round. If there are no coins left, they begin from the first stage again.

Traditionally, money carried a greater significance from the children’s point of view. However, there were few chances for them to have money except when receiving sebaetdon. Also, even if they could receive sebaetdon, it was not enough, leaving a desire to have more. They would be then forced to extort other children for their, however, this was not considered an option. The only chance they had was playing a round of Donchigi. Of course, there was the risk of losing money; nevertheless, they would actively participate at the thought of winning money, leading to less concern of the risk of losing. Children that were too young to play typically just watched the game, as it was clear that they would only lose. Compared to other games, this game provided a greater amusement amid the joy and sorrow that came along with betting money, despite the menial amount. The game was witnessed all across the country. However, as the school system grew more universal following the Korea’s liberation, Donchigi was regarded as a speculative game and, therefore, banned. At the same time, as marble games gained popularity, children were hardly able to bet money directly. As a result, it remained as a game for adults to play among themselves. On a side note, India is also found to have a traditional game of a similar ilk.

Donchigi

Donchigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game throwing coins into a hole from a fixed distance to win the coins in the hole and also hit the coins outside the hole by throwing rocks.

Donchigi was usually played on Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) or Daeboreum (the 15th day of a lunar month), which was probably because children rarely had the chance to get money, except on Seollal when they might receive sebaetdon (a gift of cash on New Year’s Day). The playing method differs depending on the region, but there are common set of rules as explained below.

A big circle is drawn in a yard or vacant lot at a 2 - 3 m distance from a set line, from which players throw coins. In the big circle, a smaller circle is drawn, while some regions dig a hole instead. After drawing the general game area, players throw coins one by one, and the player who throws a coin into the hole wins. Other players are then ranked according to the proximity to the smaller circle and have to give 1 - 2 coins to the winner. The winner then throws coins to the small circle while holding the coins in the other hand. Afterward, depending on the place of the thrown coins, the winner can take the money or pay a penalty, before moving on to the next round. Here, one possible scenario is that the winner manages to throw all coins into the circle and then take all the coins, which rarely happens. The second scenario involves only some coins are tossed into the circle. Here, the winner can take coins only in the circle and has to hit the coins outside the circle, which is designated by others with a mang (palm-sized stone). The coins that the player hits will be given to the player. However, if the player hits a undesignated coin, the player has to pay a coin as a penalty. The third scenario is where one coin falls on to other coins. These coins go to the player without trying to hit the coins outside of the big circle. The fourrth scenario is that there is no coin or no overlapped coin in the circle. A player is required to hit a coin that is designated by others with a mang in order to take the coin. The fifth scenario involves more than half of the coins are outside the big circle, leading to disqualification. Disqualified players are then out for that round without having a chance to throw a mang.

This process is carried out by children, starting with the winner and moving on to the next round. If there are no coins left, they begin from the first stage again.

Traditionally, money carried a greater significance from the children’s point of view. However, there were few chances for them to have money except when receiving sebaetdon. Also, even if they could receive sebaetdon, it was not enough, leaving a desire to have more. They would be then forced to extort other children for their, however, this was not considered an option. The only chance they had was playing a round of Donchigi. Of course, there was the risk of losing money; nevertheless, they would actively participate at the thought of winning money, leading to less concern of the risk of losing. Children that were too young to play typically just watched the game, as it was clear that they would only lose. Compared to other games, this game provided a greater amusement amid the joy and sorrow that came along with betting money, despite the menial amount. The game was witnessed all across the country. However, as the school system grew more universal following the Korea’s liberation, Donchigi was regarded as a speculative game and, therefore, banned. At the same time, as marble games gained popularity, children were hardly able to bet money directly. As a result, it remained as a game for adults to play among themselves. On a side note, India is also found to have a traditional game of a similar ilk.