Juldarigi

Juldarigi

Headword

줄다리기 ( Juldarigi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

A game pulling a rope in a test of strength to decide a winner.

In traditional society, a team game was one of the major events in a local community. The game of Juldarigi (tug-of-war), in particular, was an event that could realize the highest level of unity among community members, as it welcomed any and every one to partake in the game. Several factors contributed to generate diversity of game play, based on factors including the size of folk group, where and when the game is held, the shape of the rope, team composition, use of rope during game play, materials to make the rope, rituals for community deities, and more.

First, the size of folk group passing down the tradition varied upon community units, such as counties and villages. For county-type Juldarigi, only members of a town within a county enjoyed the game in peace, while most residents of the county participated in the game to celebrate a rich harvest, or to cope with more difficult crises, involving poor harvest year or an epidemic. The former was a closed-county type while the latter one was an open-county type event. Village-type Juldarigi shows a similar trend as the game performed in counties. During ordinary times, residents in a village enjoyed the game themselves, while people from neighboring villages joined to play the game if conditions permitted. The former was then referred to a closed type and the latter, an open type. The open type could be passed down to large scale villages, such as Yeokchon (villages where the chief administrators stayed), locations of government offices, villages with marketplaces, or strategic locations for defense. This particular version in counties and villages guaranteed the participation of members outside a local community and was also called, Keunjul (big rope), while small scale games were called Golmokjul (alley rope), Dongnejul (neighborhood rope), or Aegijul (baby rope).

Juldarigi was enjoyed on Jeongwol Daeboreum, Dano, and Chuseok. Since the 20th century, however, the game was primarily held on Jeongwol Daeboreum. The location of Juldarigi should be vast and open, yet it was traditionally decided depending upon the length of rope and the region’s geographical traits. In landlocked regions, the game was played in large fields and paddies, or on the road. Alleyways were used for small scale Juldarigi, and empty lots near riverside areas were also chosen as locations to conduct the game. Coastal regions also follow the similar trend as landlocked regions. In fact, some regions near the East Sea conducted games between different villages often held on the white sand beaches in the region.

Teams were usually formed in two ways, either based on gender or region. For gender-based grouping, some women teams sometimes had single men mixed in among the women, a trend commonly found in Jeolla-do Province and some parts of Gyeonggi-do Province.

Region-based grouping saw the division into east and west, south and north, or upper and lower groups. Ropes for Juldarigi were typically made of straw, while depending on periods or regions, kudzu, cedar, platycarya, brushwood, or even bamboo, were used to make ropes. In coastal regions near the East Sea, kudzu was used to make ropes until the 1920s and 1930s, and manila ropes and nylon ropes in fishing were also used for Juldarigi since then. In Moro-ri, Janggi-myeon in Pohang of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, kudzu, brushwood, and platycarya were used to make ropes, indicating that each region used diverse materials to make ropes, depending upon their geological and ecological conditions and occupations within the community. With the proliferation of irrigation farming, quality straws were easily accessible as rope materials, while traditional materials were still used in some regions.

Ropes for Juldarigi are either double- or single-corded. Single-strand ropes were commonly used in most regions in Jeolla-do Province and some regions in the East Sea, while double-strand ropes were used in a few regions in Jeollado Province, along with other remaining regions. For double-stranded ropes, each strand was either called a male or a female. In Juldarigi that involves using a single-strand rope, there is no peripheral devices to help pull the rope, whereas, a double-strand rope can be attached with many ropes branching out. Meanwhile, in Samcheok of Gangwon-do Province and Dongnae of Busan, the main rope is of multiple strands and also has numerous ropes linked to it. There are unique types of Juldarigi called Gejuldarigi, passed down to some regions, including inlets off the coast of Gyeongsang-do Province. In Gejuldarigi, two 5 to 6 m long thin ropes are knotted at one end, with two people lying face-down with the rope under their stomach, and each loose end of the rope is pulled through between the legs to be tied to the head of each person. The winner is the one able to pull the rope for the enemy to be dragged toward him.

The opening game played before pulling the rope depends upon the size and shape of the rope. For medium to large double-strand ropes, each team loads a person on the rope head (go) and bump their rope heads in the air to compete. The classical example is Gossaum, played in Chilseok-dong of Gwangju. In contrast, it is hard to find conventional preliminary Juldarigi games in using single-strand ropes.

The primary games discovered up through modern times include Singjeon Nori in Suncheon of Jeollanam-do Province, Bier Nori in Uiryeong of Gyeongsangnam- do Province, Baksi Ssaum in Uiseong of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Jingssagi in Jeongeup of Jeollabuk-do Province, and Gotnamu Ssaum in Yeongcheon of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Most of these games are not particularly unique in their format, nor directly related with Juldarigi in method of game play, while Gotnamu Ssaum of Yeongcheon is characteristic in its rope material and the game. Ropes are either “consumed” or “preserved” upon the completion of Juldarigi. Consumed ropes may be broken into pieces immediately, or floated on the river in the spring, while preserved ropes may be kept for one year or permanently. Ropes were typically consumed immediately following game use in most cases using double-strand ropes and were split into pieces to be used in shamanistic rituals or for practical purposes. Ropes were also stacked on the frozen river and drifted along the water in spring. People living in riverside areas of the Namhan River believed that misfortunes also drifted away with the ropes. For ropes preserved for one year, they are wound around Dangsan, a mountain or hill regarded as the body of Dongsin (village deity), and used again in the next year’s games; a custom often be seen in single-strand rope Juldarigi in Jeolla-do Province. For ropes preserved indefinitely, they are served as a deity and is only witnessed in Mopo-ri, Janggi-myeon, Pohang of Gyeongsangdo Province.

Juldarigi is one part of a festival, along with a ritual to community deities and folk arts, such as pungmul (village folk music). Juldarigi and traditional rituals also share some relation, as Jeolla-do Province enjoys it as a preliminary event prior to rituals on the day of Dangsanje (a ritual for village deities). Juldarigi in other regions, however, is conducted for a few hours following the ritual for community deities. For Juldarigi done prior to rituals, they are closely related with each other, as witnessed in the order of rope making, circling around the village, Juldarigi, and Dangsanje. Meanwhile, Juldarigi conducted following rituals doees not have any apparent connection due to the fact they take place several hours apart.

Juldarigi

Juldarigi
Headword

줄다리기 ( Juldarigi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer HanYangmyung(韓陽明)

A game pulling a rope in a test of strength to decide a winner.

In traditional society, a team game was one of the major events in a local community. The game of Juldarigi (tug-of-war), in particular, was an event that could realize the highest level of unity among community members, as it welcomed any and every one to partake in the game. Several factors contributed to generate diversity of game play, based on factors including the size of folk group, where and when the game is held, the shape of the rope, team composition, use of rope during game play, materials to make the rope, rituals for community deities, and more.

First, the size of folk group passing down the tradition varied upon community units, such as counties and villages. For county-type Juldarigi, only members of a town within a county enjoyed the game in peace, while most residents of the county participated in the game to celebrate a rich harvest, or to cope with more difficult crises, involving poor harvest year or an epidemic. The former was a closed-county type while the latter one was an open-county type event. Village-type Juldarigi shows a similar trend as the game performed in counties. During ordinary times, residents in a village enjoyed the game themselves, while people from neighboring villages joined to play the game if conditions permitted. The former was then referred to a closed type and the latter, an open type. The open type could be passed down to large scale villages, such as Yeokchon (villages where the chief administrators stayed), locations of government offices, villages with marketplaces, or strategic locations for defense. This particular version in counties and villages guaranteed the participation of members outside a local community and was also called, Keunjul (big rope), while small scale games were called Golmokjul (alley rope), Dongnejul (neighborhood rope), or Aegijul (baby rope).

Juldarigi was enjoyed on Jeongwol Daeboreum, Dano, and Chuseok. Since the 20th century, however, the game was primarily held on Jeongwol Daeboreum. The location of Juldarigi should be vast and open, yet it was traditionally decided depending upon the length of rope and the region’s geographical traits. In landlocked regions, the game was played in large fields and paddies, or on the road. Alleyways were used for small scale Juldarigi, and empty lots near riverside areas were also chosen as locations to conduct the game. Coastal regions also follow the similar trend as landlocked regions. In fact, some regions near the East Sea conducted games between different villages often held on the white sand beaches in the region.

Teams were usually formed in two ways, either based on gender or region. For gender-based grouping, some women teams sometimes had single men mixed in among the women, a trend commonly found in Jeolla-do Province and some parts of Gyeonggi-do Province.

Region-based grouping saw the division into east and west, south and north, or upper and lower groups. Ropes for Juldarigi were typically made of straw, while depending on periods or regions, kudzu, cedar, platycarya, brushwood, or even bamboo, were used to make ropes. In coastal regions near the East Sea, kudzu was used to make ropes until the 1920s and 1930s, and manila ropes and nylon ropes in fishing were also used for Juldarigi since then. In Moro-ri, Janggi-myeon in Pohang of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, kudzu, brushwood, and platycarya were used to make ropes, indicating that each region used diverse materials to make ropes, depending upon their geological and ecological conditions and occupations within the community. With the proliferation of irrigation farming, quality straws were easily accessible as rope materials, while traditional materials were still used in some regions.

Ropes for Juldarigi are either double- or single-corded. Single-strand ropes were commonly used in most regions in Jeolla-do Province and some regions in the East Sea, while double-strand ropes were used in a few regions in Jeollado Province, along with other remaining regions. For double-stranded ropes, each strand was either called a male or a female. In Juldarigi that involves using a single-strand rope, there is no peripheral devices to help pull the rope, whereas, a double-strand rope can be attached with many ropes branching out. Meanwhile, in Samcheok of Gangwon-do Province and Dongnae of Busan, the main rope is of multiple strands and also has numerous ropes linked to it. There are unique types of Juldarigi called Gejuldarigi, passed down to some regions, including inlets off the coast of Gyeongsang-do Province. In Gejuldarigi, two 5 to 6 m long thin ropes are knotted at one end, with two people lying face-down with the rope under their stomach, and each loose end of the rope is pulled through between the legs to be tied to the head of each person. The winner is the one able to pull the rope for the enemy to be dragged toward him.

The opening game played before pulling the rope depends upon the size and shape of the rope. For medium to large double-strand ropes, each team loads a person on the rope head (go) and bump their rope heads in the air to compete. The classical example is Gossaum, played in Chilseok-dong of Gwangju. In contrast, it is hard to find conventional preliminary Juldarigi games in using single-strand ropes.

The primary games discovered up through modern times include Singjeon Nori in Suncheon of Jeollanam-do Province, Bier Nori in Uiryeong of Gyeongsangnam- do Province, Baksi Ssaum in Uiseong of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Jingssagi in Jeongeup of Jeollabuk-do Province, and Gotnamu Ssaum in Yeongcheon of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Most of these games are not particularly unique in their format, nor directly related with Juldarigi in method of game play, while Gotnamu Ssaum of Yeongcheon is characteristic in its rope material and the game. Ropes are either “consumed” or “preserved” upon the completion of Juldarigi. Consumed ropes may be broken into pieces immediately, or floated on the river in the spring, while preserved ropes may be kept for one year or permanently. Ropes were typically consumed immediately following game use in most cases using double-strand ropes and were split into pieces to be used in shamanistic rituals or for practical purposes. Ropes were also stacked on the frozen river and drifted along the water in spring. People living in riverside areas of the Namhan River believed that misfortunes also drifted away with the ropes. For ropes preserved for one year, they are wound around Dangsan, a mountain or hill regarded as the body of Dongsin (village deity), and used again in the next year’s games; a custom often be seen in single-strand rope Juldarigi in Jeolla-do Province. For ropes preserved indefinitely, they are served as a deity and is only witnessed in Mopo-ri, Janggi-myeon, Pohang of Gyeongsangdo Province.

Juldarigi is one part of a festival, along with a ritual to community deities and folk arts, such as pungmul (village folk music). Juldarigi and traditional rituals also share some relation, as Jeolla-do Province enjoys it as a preliminary event prior to rituals on the day of Dangsanje (a ritual for village deities). Juldarigi in other regions, however, is conducted for a few hours following the ritual for community deities. For Juldarigi done prior to rituals, they are closely related with each other, as witnessed in the order of rope making, circling around the village, Juldarigi, and Dangsanje. Meanwhile, Juldarigi conducted following rituals doees not have any apparent connection due to the fact they take place several hours apart.