Yeongsan Juldarigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

A game consisting of Juldarigi in Yeongsan-myeon of Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, played on Jeongwol Daeboreum.

Yeongsan Juldarigi is played by two teams divided into the east team and the west team, according to the residential areas. The division starts from dividing the four villages within the town of the old boundary of Yeongsan County into east and west sides. In Yeongsan, Seongnae-ri and Gyo-ri within the town wall were considered the east side, and Seo-ri and Dong-ri, the outside of the wall were considered the west side. The division was applied not only to the four villages, but also to the entire Yeongsan County in the past. Currently, the division is applied to the whole Changnyeong-gun, granting the sense of belonging to every participant of Yeongsan Juldarigi.

Yeongsan Juldarigi displays characteristics of traditional Juldarigi. At the beginning of the Lunar New Year, children play Juldarigi in the alleyways using a thin rope, as thick as their wrists. As time goes by, the number and age of the participants grow both larger and older, while the size of the rope becomes thicker and thicker by the time Jeongwol Daeboreum arrives. Around this time, the adults of the east and west sides pay attention to the Juldarigi and play it together. The golmokjul (alleyway rope) grows larger by the participation of adults, and is also referred to as jungjul (medium-sized ropes). When using the golmokjul, the leaders of both teams ride on the ropes, while the rest of the members carry them on their shoulders and march around the alleyways. Once both teams meet, a battle between the leaders ensues to take down the opponents from the ropes, which is called Yi Battle. Yi refers to a Chinese letter meaning baby dragon, denoting a battle between dragons. Today, golmokjul is played in the afternoon of March 1st, during the March 1st Folk Culture Festival at Hangolmok (Han Alleyway) just as in the old days. The players are young adults in the region, under the supervision of the Yeongsan Juldarigi Preservation Society.

Meanwhile, unlike the annual golmokjul, the keun jul (large rope) was played in a special occasion only, under the right conditions and agreement among residents. Golmokjul was one of the triggers of playing keun jul. Once the atmosphere was set among people while playing golmokjul, the leaders of both sides suggested, “Why don’t why engage in a battle of keun jul this year, ” and the preparation would begin upon the agreement between both sides.

When the two sides decide to play keun jul, each side selects a well-respected person as the general, before granting that person festive authority during the game. The generals are given uniforms and general’s flags are placed before their houses.

Various flags and village folk bands, along with the seonangdaes would follow the generals everywhere.

In the past, the straw to make the large rope was donated voluntarily by every household of both teams. When enough straw was gathered, participants made a wooden structure, called jaksubari, and began rope making. Yeongsanjul (Yeongsan rope) is made with dozens of gadakjul (small ropes), and the scale of Yeongsanjul is decided by the total number and length of gadakjuls. Until the 1930s, a Yeongsanjul was made with 100 gadakjuls, each 300 m in length. However, since the revival of the game in 1963, the rope was made with 30 gadakjuls, each 100 m in length. Currently, the rope is made with 40 gadakjuls, each 100 m in length. Besides straw, hundreds of straw ropes and numerous straw bags are needed to make a Yeongsanjul. The straw ropes are attached to the momjul (main rope) as jeotjul (side ropes attached to the momjul resemble legs of a centipede), and the straw bags are used to strengthen the rope head.

Upon completion of the rope making, the head of a rope is raised high by a long log. The rope is guarded with seonangdaes and yeonggis (leading flags of village folk bands) in order to protect it from women touching it or sabotage by the opposing team.

Around the time of the actual Juldarigi both teams prepare ritual tables before the ropes and perform Julgosa (the rite of rope). Then, both teams move the ropes to the grounds for the game. Both processions are led by seonangdaes, the poles representing each team, and other flags, followed by village folk bands and the rest of villagers holding small yeonggis.

The grounds of the game were primarily a newly-made street, which was built during the Japanese Occupation, or a wide field in front of Yeonji (Yeon Lake). However, the grounds were relocated to Yeongsan Middle School and Yeongsan Elementary School due to the original locations now being raised as onion fields. Later on, a dedicated Juldarigi field was built near the Yeongsan area in 1990, and the game has been played at the field ever since.

Upon arrival, both teams connect the male and female ropes. Each rope represents female and male, hinting at the sexual nature between man and woman. Both teams connect the ropes, exchanging unpleasant words, asking for the connection. However, neither teams start the process easily, as both teams express their pride as a man and a woman, and it takes quite a while to stick the head of the male rope into the head of the female rope, and fix the connected point with a binyeomok (a fixing log).

After the connection, participants start pulling after a signal of jing (a gong). The generals of both teams on the ropes encourage their team members while waving swords. Folk bands raise the morale of their teams by playing fast melodies. Even the spectators, watching the game with their arms crossed at first, join the game at the height of the battle driven by excitement.

When a winning team is decided after the whole process, the participants start to get busy cutting off a part of the ropes. Those with sickles or knives rush in to cut off the head or neck of the winning team’s rope, or at least a part of its body or handles. The people managing to cut off a bundle of the rope laugh heartily, hanging the piece around their neck or holding it in their hands. The residents believe that the rope protects a household from misfortune when it is put on the roof, granting the safe birth of a boy if consumed by a pregnant woman, bringing about a rich harvest if placed in farming fields or paddies, and ensuring a cow’s healthy growth if fed to the cow.

Yeongsan Juldarigi

Yeongsan Juldarigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

A game consisting of Juldarigi in Yeongsan-myeon of Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do Province, played on Jeongwol Daeboreum.

Yeongsan Juldarigi is played by two teams divided into the east team and the west team, according to the residential areas. The division starts from dividing the four villages within the town of the old boundary of Yeongsan County into east and west sides. In Yeongsan, Seongnae-ri and Gyo-ri within the town wall were considered the east side, and Seo-ri and Dong-ri, the outside of the wall were considered the west side. The division was applied not only to the four villages, but also to the entire Yeongsan County in the past. Currently, the division is applied to the whole Changnyeong-gun, granting the sense of belonging to every participant of Yeongsan Juldarigi.

Yeongsan Juldarigi displays characteristics of traditional Juldarigi. At the beginning of the Lunar New Year, children play Juldarigi in the alleyways using a thin rope, as thick as their wrists. As time goes by, the number and age of the participants grow both larger and older, while the size of the rope becomes thicker and thicker by the time Jeongwol Daeboreum arrives. Around this time, the adults of the east and west sides pay attention to the Juldarigi and play it together. The golmokjul (alleyway rope) grows larger by the participation of adults, and is also referred to as jungjul (medium-sized ropes). When using the golmokjul, the leaders of both teams ride on the ropes, while the rest of the members carry them on their shoulders and march around the alleyways. Once both teams meet, a battle between the leaders ensues to take down the opponents from the ropes, which is called Yi Battle. Yi refers to a Chinese letter meaning baby dragon, denoting a battle between dragons. Today, golmokjul is played in the afternoon of March 1st, during the March 1st Folk Culture Festival at Hangolmok (Han Alleyway) just as in the old days. The players are young adults in the region, under the supervision of the Yeongsan Juldarigi Preservation Society.

Meanwhile, unlike the annual golmokjul, the keun jul (large rope) was played in a special occasion only, under the right conditions and agreement among residents. Golmokjul was one of the triggers of playing keun jul. Once the atmosphere was set among people while playing golmokjul, the leaders of both sides suggested, “Why don’t why engage in a battle of keun jul this year, ” and the preparation would begin upon the agreement between both sides.

When the two sides decide to play keun jul, each side selects a well-respected person as the general, before granting that person festive authority during the game. The generals are given uniforms and general’s flags are placed before their houses.

Various flags and village folk bands, along with the seonangdaes would follow the generals everywhere.

In the past, the straw to make the large rope was donated voluntarily by every household of both teams. When enough straw was gathered, participants made a wooden structure, called jaksubari, and began rope making. Yeongsanjul (Yeongsan rope) is made with dozens of gadakjul (small ropes), and the scale of Yeongsanjul is decided by the total number and length of gadakjuls. Until the 1930s, a Yeongsanjul was made with 100 gadakjuls, each 300 m in length. However, since the revival of the game in 1963, the rope was made with 30 gadakjuls, each 100 m in length. Currently, the rope is made with 40 gadakjuls, each 100 m in length. Besides straw, hundreds of straw ropes and numerous straw bags are needed to make a Yeongsanjul. The straw ropes are attached to the momjul (main rope) as jeotjul (side ropes attached to the momjul resemble legs of a centipede), and the straw bags are used to strengthen the rope head.

Upon completion of the rope making, the head of a rope is raised high by a long log. The rope is guarded with seonangdaes and yeonggis (leading flags of village folk bands) in order to protect it from women touching it or sabotage by the opposing team.

Around the time of the actual Juldarigi both teams prepare ritual tables before the ropes and perform Julgosa (the rite of rope). Then, both teams move the ropes to the grounds for the game. Both processions are led by seonangdaes, the poles representing each team, and other flags, followed by village folk bands and the rest of villagers holding small yeonggis.

The grounds of the game were primarily a newly-made street, which was built during the Japanese Occupation, or a wide field in front of Yeonji (Yeon Lake). However, the grounds were relocated to Yeongsan Middle School and Yeongsan Elementary School due to the original locations now being raised as onion fields. Later on, a dedicated Juldarigi field was built near the Yeongsan area in 1990, and the game has been played at the field ever since.

Upon arrival, both teams connect the male and female ropes. Each rope represents female and male, hinting at the sexual nature between man and woman. Both teams connect the ropes, exchanging unpleasant words, asking for the connection. However, neither teams start the process easily, as both teams express their pride as a man and a woman, and it takes quite a while to stick the head of the male rope into the head of the female rope, and fix the connected point with a binyeomok (a fixing log).

After the connection, participants start pulling after a signal of jing (a gong). The generals of both teams on the ropes encourage their team members while waving swords. Folk bands raise the morale of their teams by playing fast melodies. Even the spectators, watching the game with their arms crossed at first, join the game at the height of the battle driven by excitement.

When a winning team is decided after the whole process, the participants start to get busy cutting off a part of the ropes. Those with sickles or knives rush in to cut off the head or neck of the winning team’s rope, or at least a part of its body or handles. The people managing to cut off a bundle of the rope laugh heartily, hanging the piece around their neck or holding it in their hands. The residents believe that the rope protects a household from misfortune when it is put on the roof, granting the safe birth of a boy if consumed by a pregnant woman, bringing about a rich harvest if placed in farming fields or paddies, and ensuring a cow’s healthy growth if fed to the cow.