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Enjoy the Korean Traditional Culture Experience!

2011/02/02 Source

To mark the Lunar New Year's Day, a group of visitors have gathered for a special experience.

[Interview : Kim Ju-yeong, Participant] "I'm here to experience Korean traditional culture".

[Interview : Chae Myeong-ji, Participant] "I came here because this program allows children to see horses
and experience horse-riding and archery practiced by our ancestors,
which they've only read in books. "

They'll be experiencing the traditional Korean culture for two days and one night.

[Interview : Park Nam-byeong, Teacher
Korean Traditional Culture School] "The school's mission is to nurture, propagate and pass down Korea's folk game culture to our children. It's an educational ground where children can build social skills and understand the importance of our folk games and our identity by practicing the games themselves".

Awaiting the participants outside is their first traditional culture experience. It's none other than horse riding! Being this their first time riding a horse, the participants are visibly excited.

[Interview : ] "Our ancestors were horse-riding people. You're the proud descendants of a horse-riding race".

Korean ancestors were horse-riding people, whose livelihoods revolved around this activity. Thus knowing how to ride a horse was an essential life skill.

[Interview : PD] "You think you'll ride well[Interview : ] "No".

Riding a horse for the first time, this young participant was visibly nervous at first, but courageously mounted the horse.

This experience is not just about horse-riding. It's about teaching the children the valor and the spirit of their ancestors.

[Interview : Park Nam-byeong, Teacher Korean Traditional Culture School] "Through horse-riding, children can learn the spirit of Hwa Rang Do
that was adhered by the Hwarang, an elite group of youth during the Silla Kingdom, as well as the spirit of challenge.
The children usually get frightened at first, but they get a huge sense
of achievement and satisfaction after they try it".

Through a rewarding horse-riding experience, the young participants were taught how to ride a horse and to take pride in their ethnic roots.

[Interview : Bok Gyeong-tae, Participant] "It's fun. Now I really feel like a descendant of the horse-riding race".

[Interview : Lee Ji-hyeon, Participant] "It was scary, but a little bit exciting, too".

Awaiting next is the exciting Gukgung experience!

[Interview : ] "The word "gukgung" literally means the "national bow"."

Korean ancestors used Gukgung, the martial art of archery, as a defense tool in combat as well as a pastime.

Now the participants head out to try Gukgung themselves.

[Interview : PD] "You think you can shoot well[Interview : ] "Yes".
[Interview : PD] "What are you aiming for[Interview : ] "A wild boar ".

The young participants are confident about their archery skills, but after drawing the bows, they realize that it's not as easy as it seems!

[Interview : ] "This is scary!"
[Interview : PD] "Does your hand hurt[Interview : ] "Yes".

They pull the bowstrings as hard as they can, but the arrows drop right in front of them as soon as they're released from the bows.

[Interview : Park Go-eun, Participant] "It's so difficult".

[Interview : ] "You have to let go of the bowstring! Let's try it one more time. Flatten your palm!"

With the help of the instructors, the arrows begin to hit the targets.

[Interview : ] "It hit the target!"

[Interview : ] "This is the arrow that I shot!"

[Interview : Cheon Ji-won, Participant] "I did hear about Gukgung, but I didn't know exactly what it was until I came here. So it was great to have this opportunity".

After a fun outdoor activity, the participants head back to the classroom. To mark the Lunar New Year's Day, they sit down and start writing down their wishes for this year.

[Interview : Son Dong-hui, Participant] "I want to become a millionaire".

[Interview : Lee Ji-hyun-IV, Participant] "I want my family members to be healthy and happy this year".

At night, the participants go outside and make their New Year wishes in front of a cozy bonfire. The children's first day of the traditional cultural experience finally comes to an end.

Early next morning, they encounter a huge mysterious-looking pole standing in the middle of the playground. What is this pole for[Interview : ] "It looks like a flag".

[Interview : ] "I don't know".

[Interview : ] "As you can see, we tied eight fabric strips in different colors to a pine tree pole. The purpose of this game is to twist them in the right order. It requires all of your team members to work together in one mind".

As a popular folklore practiced during the Joseon Dynasty, Danshimjool was a communal game played by Korean ancestors to celebrate the country's victory in a war, to boost the morale of the army before battles, and simply to relax and have fun.

[Interview : Park Sae-mina, Teacher Korean Traditional Culture School] "In an increasingly individualistic world, this game will instill in the participants the spirit of harmony and help their hearts and minds come together as one".

In this game, the players sing and dance together around a pine tree pole while braiding the multi-colored fabric strips hanging from it. In this way, the game promoted harmony and brought our ancestors together.

[Interview : Jang Myeong-seok, Participant] "It seemed so beautiful to me that our ancestors spent their recreational time playing such harmonious game".

And just like their ancestors, the participants learned the spirit of unity and cooperation as they played the game.

Lastly, the children are taught how to play a fun winter folk game called Jangchigi. An icy surface and sticks are all that are needed to play this game.

[Interview : ] "Now it's time for Jangchigi. Jangchigi is a game that's similar to
ice hockey!"

In the Joseon era, Jangchigi was a field hockey-like sport enjoyed by everyone, from kings to commoners.

In Jangchigi, each team draws a line on its side, and tries to score a point by getting the ball across the opposite side of the line with a stick. As a sport that can be easily played with simple tools, regardless of the location, Jangchigi enjoyed a wide popularity during the Joseon era.

As they enjoy this speedy folk game on the icy ground, the children completely forget about the cold winter weather.

[Interview : ] "It feels awesome!"

[Interview : Son Dong-hui, Participant] "I usually play computer games in my free time, but I had a lot of fun today playing these traditional folk games".

[Interview : Cheon Ji-won, Participant] "Before I came here, the only folk game I knew was Ganggangsullae . So I'm glad that I learned so many new things here".

Serving both recreational and communal purposes, our traditional culture embodies the wisdom and the prudence of our ancestors that can't be seen elsewhere! How about enjoying some fun-filled family time during this Lunar New Year holiday by playing these diverse and exciting folk games

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