Folk Games (1)



Ssirum (Korean Wrestling)

Ssirum is a game in which two stooping contestants hold each other's thigh band and strive to throw the opponent to the ground.

Korean ssirum has a long history.

Ssirum has been regarded as a must on Chusok (the 15th day of the eighth month by the lunar calendar), a Korean folk festival.

The champion in ssirum contest received a bull as a prize and would ride home the bull decorated with flowers.

Even now the Grand Bull Prize National Ssirum Contest takes place every year on the picturesque Rungna Island in Pyongyang to mark Chusok.



Tug of War

Tug of war, a team play, has a long tradition. In the bygone days, it usually took place on the 15th day of the first month by the lunar calendar and Chusok, and it has now developed into a sport of team play that can be held in any place and at any time. The time-honoured game of the Korean nation has now become a nationwide folk game that demonstrates the might of unity and helps build up physical strength and endurance.



Jumping Seesaw

Different episodes relate to its origin. In the Koryo period, as an expression of their complaints about the feudal shackles, women used to get on a board in the courtyard to look out over the wall. Still another story is that it is a representation of the movement of a mill worked by treading, which had been used in the bygone days.

On lunar New Year's Day and the 15th day of the first month by the lunar calendar women in nice dresses got together to play at seesaw till late at night.

Typical playing modes include vertical jumping, stunt, rhythmic jumping to the tune of folk songs, high jumping, and long jumping.

Seesawing, as one of the national acrobatics, enjoys a big popularity abroad.




Swinging is a contest in which a person standing on a board held by two ropes hanging from a certain height tries to swing as high as possible, moving back and forward. Swinging includes single and double swingings.

In the contest the swinger who kicks the bell hung high is the winner, or in other case, a calibrated line fastened to the swinging board can be used to measure the height it reaches for each swinger. One who swings the highest is the winner.


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