Mun Nori

Mun Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game making a door with two people’s arms while other players pass through having formed a line.

This game is also referred to Munjigi Nori (Doorkeeper game), Munttulgi Nori (Door boring game), or Munyeolgi Nori (Door opening game), and is usually played when there are many people. In Jeolla-do Province, it is a part of Ganggangsullae.

Given that it is primarily played on a moonlit night, it seems to be an act of enjoyment rather than competition. This game can be played while being divided into two teams, or without dividing into teams with two appointed doorkeepers.

According the rules of the former, 20 - 30 people are divided into two teams and choose which team opens the door first. While the first team is creating a door in two rows, the second team passes through the door. The second team then tries to go through the door, holding the waist of the person in front with their heads lowered, and the first team lowers their arms to try and stop the second team from passing through. The second team must maintain their line until all the members have successfully passed through the gate to win. Once the chain breaks, however, teams then switch their roles. In the latter version, the first team consists of two doorkeepers, while the second team is comprised of the rest of the players. Typically, the second team wanders around and passes through the gate at some point while the teams exchange questions and answers or sing a song. At a certain point during the song, doorkeepers lower their arms to close the door and anyone that gets caught becomes the next doorkeeper. The lyrics slightly differ from region to region.

The most famous song that is sung up to this day is called Dongdaemun, which is sung as follows: “Open Dong, Dong, Dongdaemun / Open Nam, Nam, Namdaemun / When it’s at twelve sharp / The Gates are closed.”

When the doorkeepers say, “The Gates are closed, ” they lower their arms to catch a players passing under their arms. The game usually ends upon a player being caught, however, in some cases, the doorkeepers bring the player elsewhere and ask, “Do you want to be a spoon? Or chopsticks?” The player then chooses one of the two and stands aside. In this way, the game can actually serve as a preliminary game to divide people into two teams for the next game.

Since the rules are easy to follow, children and adults can play it together. Although the lyrics have changed over the years, Dong, Dong, Dongdaemun is the most known version, as it is shorter and easier to understand among children. As most players are young girls, this game primarily focuses on playing together rather than competing with one another.

Mun Nori

Mun Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game making a door with two people’s arms while other players pass through having formed a line.

This game is also referred to Munjigi Nori (Doorkeeper game), Munttulgi Nori (Door boring game), or Munyeolgi Nori (Door opening game), and is usually played when there are many people. In Jeolla-do Province, it is a part of Ganggangsullae.

Given that it is primarily played on a moonlit night, it seems to be an act of enjoyment rather than competition. This game can be played while being divided into two teams, or without dividing into teams with two appointed doorkeepers.

According the rules of the former, 20 - 30 people are divided into two teams and choose which team opens the door first. While the first team is creating a door in two rows, the second team passes through the door. The second team then tries to go through the door, holding the waist of the person in front with their heads lowered, and the first team lowers their arms to try and stop the second team from passing through. The second team must maintain their line until all the members have successfully passed through the gate to win. Once the chain breaks, however, teams then switch their roles. In the latter version, the first team consists of two doorkeepers, while the second team is comprised of the rest of the players. Typically, the second team wanders around and passes through the gate at some point while the teams exchange questions and answers or sing a song. At a certain point during the song, doorkeepers lower their arms to close the door and anyone that gets caught becomes the next doorkeeper. The lyrics slightly differ from region to region.

The most famous song that is sung up to this day is called Dongdaemun, which is sung as follows: “Open Dong, Dong, Dongdaemun / Open Nam, Nam, Namdaemun / When it’s at twelve sharp / The Gates are closed.”

When the doorkeepers say, “The Gates are closed, ” they lower their arms to catch a players passing under their arms. The game usually ends upon a player being caught, however, in some cases, the doorkeepers bring the player elsewhere and ask, “Do you want to be a spoon? Or chopsticks?” The player then chooses one of the two and stands aside. In this way, the game can actually serve as a preliminary game to divide people into two teams for the next game.

Since the rules are easy to follow, children and adults can play it together. Although the lyrics have changed over the years, Dong, Dong, Dongdaemun is the most known version, as it is shorter and easier to understand among children. As most players are young girls, this game primarily focuses on playing together rather than competing with one another.