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ChoJunghyun

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ChoJunghyun

15

Hwatu

A game using cards with flower paintings on them, symbolizing the 12 months of the year. Often called Go-Stop, Hwatu is a game using 48 cards with 12 different families, or groups, symbolizing the months of a year. Hanafuda, a Japanese card game, seemed to be introduced to the Korea in the late Joseon Period and evolved into Hwatu. Though it is not clear who first propagated Hwatu, leading to its popularity in Korea, some claim that Japanese merchants in Tsushima Island could have been the sourc

Korean Folk Arts

Origins of Hahoe Village Ritual Mask Dance

This legend narrates the origin of the mask dance staged as part of byeolsingut, the village tutelary spirit ritual observed in the village of Hahoe. The narrative is supported by the evidence of the incomplete form of the Imae mask. Hahoe mask dance is the oldest in the Korean mask dance tradition, dating back to mid-Goryeo and designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 69. Nine of the masks used in the dance have been designated as National Treasure No. 121. Hahoe mask dance make

Korean Folk Literature

Baekjung Nori

A festive custom for farmers around Baekjung, a traditional holiday related to the full moon. Baekjung Nori is a seasonal folk custom consisting of a one-day feast around the beginning or middle of July, according to the lunar calendar, performed after all the major works of annual cultivation. During the day, the community work is completed, including cleaning the wells and the roads. All the households then prepare food and gather together to hold a party and share the food. At the beginning o

Korean Folk Arts

Bin Sangyeo Nori

A custom simulating a funeral by carrying an empty bier on the shoulders the night before a burial. The Bin Sangyeo Nori is a performance by an apsorikkun (lead vocalist of funeral songs) and a group of sangdukkun (pallbearers) the night before carrying the coffin out the next morning in order to familiarize themselves with carrying it properly during the ceremony. Once the preparation of the coffin room is complete and the Seongbokje (a rite given before the funeral) is performed, the host fami

Korean Folk Arts

Hereditary Shaman

Seseummu is a shaman who inherits the calling as part of a family trade passed down through generations. The practice of inheriting the shamanic role was prevalent in regions south of the Han River, and hereditary shamans did not experience possession but carried out the role by training in the skills of the ritual. Hereditary shaman communities around Korea include the dangol shamans of Jeolla Province; the byeolsingut (village ritual) shaman community of Gangwon and Gyeongsang provinces; the c

Korean Folk Beliefs

Ritual Table

Gutsang is the term referring to the table of sacrificial foods in a shamanic ritual. The make-up of a ritual table varies by the deity being worshipped, but is generally identical to that in a Confucian memorial rite, with the head or leg of a cow or pig added. The type and arrangement of the ritual table provide clues to the characteristics of the ritual and the deity being worshipped. The arrangement and the amount and quality of the sacrificial foods also provide information about the status

Korean Folk Beliefs

Keep Chicken No Longer Than Three Years, Keep Dogs No Longer Than Ten Years

The tale “Gyebulsamnyeon, Gubulsimnyeon” is a narrative associated with the proverb of the same title. A chicken being raised by a man disappeared one day. The man went after it, and found it turning into a snake, shedding its feathers. The lesson is that if people keep chickens too long, they turn into wily creatures, so three years should be the limit. The same applies to dogs, who after living with humans too long will start reading people’s thoughts and run away or attack when they are about

Korean Folk Literature

Miscellaneous Ghosts and Lesser Gods

Japgwijapsin, or miscellaneous ghosts and lesser gods, is a term that refers to gods of the lowest order in Korean folk religion. These spirits are viewed as forces that can harm and harass rather than as objects of worship that answer people’s prayers. The term is used collectively for all human spirits that have died tragic deaths bearing grievances, including those who died without children (mujugohon); bachelor ghosts; those who have died from disabilities; or those who died during childbirt

Korean Folk Beliefs

Ritual for Village Tutelary Spirit

Byeolsingut is a communal ritual held every three, five, or ten years to pray for peace and prosperity to the village tutelary spirit. Such rituals are also called pungeoje (big catch ritual) on the coastal regions and byeolsinje in inland regions. Byeolsingut from Hahoe village in North Gyeongsang Province, Eunsan in South Chungcheong, and Oti in North Chungcheong are the biggest among those held in inland regions, while rituals from the eastern and southern coasts are also widely recognized. H

Korean Folk Beliefs

Tujeon

A game picking tiles with patterns or characters with the one picking the highest tile to decide the winner. As a traditional indoor game for men, the players pick a piece of paper with patterns or characters, and the one picking the highest number is declared the winner. According to the literature of the Joseon Period, Tujeon was recorded in three different Chinese characters 鬪錢, 鬪牋, and 投牋, while also being referred to as jipae (paper game pieces) since it was made of paper. Tujeon is made by

Korean Folk Arts

Hahoe Seonyu Julbul Nori

A custom taking place among the yangban class on the 16th of the seventh month of the lunar calendar in Hahoe-ri of Pungcheon-myeon, Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Hahoe Seonyu Julbul Nori is a traditional game passed down among people of the Hahoe Village and appears to be a combination of the yangban (the gentry of the Joseon Period) class riding in a boat and fireworks commemorating the Buddha’s Birthday. It is a folk custom where a pouch filled with charcoal powder clings to each rope hu

Korean Folk Arts

Jwibul Nori

A game burning a fire on a field to exterminate rats on the rat day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Jwibul Nori is a folk game to set fire to farming fields to prevent disasters caused by harmful insects on the rat day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Jwibul Nori is accompanied by Hwaetbul (torch) Nori on the 14th of the first month of the lunar calendar, or in the evening of Jeongwol Daeboreum. It was performed to welcome a new spring by driving out evil spirits, to wish for

Korean Folk Arts

Tuho

A game throwing as many red and blue arrows as possible into a bottle or a pot to decide a winner. Tuho was a game mainly played by royal families or yangban (the gentry of the Joseon Period) households. It was an old folk game even mentioned in Yegi (a book of rituals). The game was widely played in China during the Tang Dynasty, while believed to have been played in Korea for a long time as well. According to a historical record written in 1116, during the reign of Yejong of the Goryeo Dynasty

Korean Folk Arts

Yugeumi Plain

The legend of Yugeumideul narrates the tale related to Yugeumi Plain near Gyeongju, the ancient capital of Silla, in North Geyongsang Province, about a king who turned into a dragon that reigned over water, and the child Yugeumi, who recognized him, which helped the king ascend to the heavens. Most narratives about Yugeumi Plain are transmitted around Gyeongju, with some in the Gumi area as well: The Gyeongju variations identify the king as Great King Kim Bu (Kimbudaewang, also referred to as Ki

Korean Folk Literature

King Gongmin

Gongminwang was a king of Goryeo (918-1392), a reformminded ruler who led a tragic life, now worshipped as a deity in Seoul, Gyeongsang Province and many other parts of the country. Gongminwang reigned from 1351 to 1364, taking the throne as Goryeo’s 31st king at the age of 21 after spending a decade in China. During the shift in China from Yuan dynasty to Ming, King Gongmin took advantage of the changing times and attempted many reforms towards Goryeo’s revival. Following the death of his wife

Korean Folk Beliefs
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