Held 2022 Gijisi Juldarigi (Tug-of-War) Festival from 13 to 15 May in Dangjin

Moving rope with participants © Daeyoung Ko

The Gijisi Juldarigi (Tug-of-War) Festival, which was not held due to COVID-19, was held in three years from 13 to 15 May at the Gijisi Juldarigi Museum and in areas around Gijisi in Dangjin City, South Chungcheong Province.

Under the theme, “Connect,” featured rituals such as Dangje (village god ritual) and Yongwangje (dragon king ritual) made a beginning of the Festoval on 13 May, and not only Gijisi Juldarigi but also other regions’ Juldarigi demonstrations were shown in the next day. Marking the highlight of the Festival was dragging the two ropes (male and female ones) of 50m, 20 tons by gathered people, with Nongak (farmer’s music) troupe. Despite halving the size of the rope this year, the desire to transmit culture and wish for peach and harmony in the country remained the same.

Two ropes (male and female ones) connected with binyeojang (wooden beam) for Juldarigi game © Daeyoung Ko

The Gijisi Juldarigi is played by dividing into upriver and downriver teams. It is traditionally believed if the upriver team wins, it will bring well-beings to the country; on the contrary, if the downriver team wins, it will bring abundant harvest for the year, which means that people do not put emphasis on winning or losing. Though, the winning team of this year was the downriver team. After the game, participants cut the rope and took it: they believe it prevents and blocks misfortune in the family.

Considering A to Z, the process or making ropes, preparing the festival, and finishing it at the end, Juldarigi is not a game deciding who wins or loses by pulling ropes. The community must bring many hands together and in this line, the meaning of harmony contributed significantly to the inscribing on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015.

Meanwhile, ICHCAP, in cooperation with Dangjin City, published Living Heritage Series, Tugging Rituals and Games: A Common Element, Diverse Approaches, held symposiums and made Culture-Full Box: striving to raise awareness of the intangible cultural heritage.