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Winter Folk Games

From olden times, the Korean people have enjoyed such folk games in winter as a tug of war, yut game, seesawing, sleighing and top-spinning.

A tug of war is a folk game in which two teams compare their strength by pulling against each other on the opposite ends of a rope.

This game serves as an important occasion in demonstrating the unity of a team, as it unites the idea and strength of its members and helps them build up their bodies.

Yut game, which is played with four yut sticks, four markers for each side and a board with 29 positions, is simple and very interesting. So, it is regarded as a winter game favoured by all Koreans—young and old, men and women—on lunar New Year’s Day and Jongwoldaeborum, First Full Moon Day or the 15th day of the first month by the lunar calendar.

Seesawing is also a traditional folk game played by the Korean women on lunar New Year’s Day and other several occasions.

According to a folk tale, it originated from the fact that they used to get on a board in their courtyard to get a glimpse of the world outside the wall, as an expression of their complaints against the feudal shackles.

Sleighing, shuttle-cocking and top-spinning are also popular folk games enjoyed by the Korean children in winter.

Sleighing is played by various methods, including a comeback of a certain distance and a relay race. In top-spinning players compete with each other whether whose top made in various forms continues to spin longer or who is the first to run a certain distance on the ice, whipping a top. These games are good for physical training as they help children develop their motor nerves and have strong resistance to cold.

The colourful winter folk games, which have been developed in keeping with the requirements of the times, are played in all parts of the country, adding national flavour to the life of the Korean people.

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