Loop Fight(斗绳套游戏)

Loop Fight

Headword

고싸움놀이 ( 斗绳套游戏 , Gossaum Nori )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer PyoInju(表仁柱)

Gossaum nori (Kor. 고싸움놀이, lit. loop fighting game) is a popular folk event held in Chilseok-dong, Nam-gu, Gwangju (South Jeolla Province) on the Great Full Moon Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). It has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 33. The goal of gossaum nori, a type of tug-of-war with two large ropes with loops at the end known as go (Kor. 고), is to force the opposite team’s loop-end to the ground. There is always a worship service for the village’s guardian deity preceding the gossaum nori. This service is held at the village shrine at midnight on the fourteenth of the first lunar month.

There are two teams in this war game: the east and the west teams. The east team, symbolizing masculinity, is made up of residents of Sangchilseok (Kor. 상칠석, Chin. 上漆石, lit. upper village), and the west team, symbolizing femininity, consists of residents of the Hachilseok (Kor. 하칠석, Chin. 下漆石, lit. lower village). During the game, the team leaders ride on top of the large ropes with loops. These rope loops are made out in the main street by the participating teams between the thirteenth and fourteenth of the first lunar month. Once the loops are completed, the two teams parade around their respective neighborhoods with them. The parade is accompanied by a farmers’ band and offers a preview of the next day’s competition. It also sets the mood for the festival. If one team runs into the other during the parade, the participants on both sides let out loud battle cries to intimidate each other.

When the teams arrive at the site of the competition, they sing songs and yell battle cries in order to arouse their fighting spirit. The two loops are placed face-to-face and the teams align in the positions following instructions from their respective leaders. The participants alternately tug the rope back and forth several times to warm up. When the leaders announce the start of the game by shouting “push,” the teams start pushing their loop-ends at that of the opposite team, all while shouting out deafening cries. If the battle unfolds in a manner disadvantageous for one team, the leader of that team orders a retreat by shouting “pull out.” The team members back out with the loop-end and realign themselves while dancing to the music performed by the farmers’ band. This pushing and retreating in frontal attacks (hitting the opponents’ loop-end from the front) and lateral attacks (hitting the side of a loop-end) alternates until one team gains an indisputable advantage resulting in victory.

In popular belief, the west team, which symbolizes femininity, must prevail for the village to have a good crop yield in the fall. The loop-end of the rope is sometimes also referred to as “dragon” or “lizard,” suggesting that game’s roots lie in shamanistic and totemic beliefs.

Loop Fight

Loop Fight
Headword

고싸움놀이 ( 斗绳套游戏 , Gossaum Nori )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer PyoInju(表仁柱)

Gossaum nori (Kor. 고싸움놀이, lit. loop fighting game) is a popular folk event held in Chilseok-dong, Nam-gu, Gwangju (South Jeolla Province) on the Great Full Moon Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). It has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 33. The goal of gossaum nori, a type of tug-of-war with two large ropes with loops at the end known as go (Kor. 고), is to force the opposite team’s loop-end to the ground. There is always a worship service for the village’s guardian deity preceding the gossaum nori. This service is held at the village shrine at midnight on the fourteenth of the first lunar month.

There are two teams in this war game: the east and the west teams. The east team, symbolizing masculinity, is made up of residents of Sangchilseok (Kor. 상칠석, Chin. 上漆石, lit. upper village), and the west team, symbolizing femininity, consists of residents of the Hachilseok (Kor. 하칠석, Chin. 下漆石, lit. lower village). During the game, the team leaders ride on top of the large ropes with loops. These rope loops are made out in the main street by the participating teams between the thirteenth and fourteenth of the first lunar month. Once the loops are completed, the two teams parade around their respective neighborhoods with them. The parade is accompanied by a farmers’ band and offers a preview of the next day’s competition. It also sets the mood for the festival. If one team runs into the other during the parade, the participants on both sides let out loud battle cries to intimidate each other.

When the teams arrive at the site of the competition, they sing songs and yell battle cries in order to arouse their fighting spirit. The two loops are placed face-to-face and the teams align in the positions following instructions from their respective leaders. The participants alternately tug the rope back and forth several times to warm up. When the leaders announce the start of the game by shouting “push,” the teams start pushing their loop-ends at that of the opposite team, all while shouting out deafening cries. If the battle unfolds in a manner disadvantageous for one team, the leader of that team orders a retreat by shouting “pull out.” The team members back out with the loop-end and realign themselves while dancing to the music performed by the farmers’ band. This pushing and retreating in frontal attacks (hitting the opponents’ loop-end from the front) and lateral attacks (hitting the side of a loop-end) alternates until one team gains an indisputable advantage resulting in victory.

In popular belief, the west team, which symbolizes femininity, must prevail for the village to have a good crop yield in the fall. The loop-end of the rope is sometimes also referred to as “dragon” or “lizard,” suggesting that game’s roots lie in shamanistic and totemic beliefs.