May 18, 2024
KCNA Pyongyang Times

Jongwoldaeborum and national customs

Date: 24/02/2024 | Source: Pyongyang Times | Read original version at source

Jongwoldaeborum (the fifteenth day of the first month by the lunar calendar) is one of the traditional holidays of the Korean people.

It was usually celebrated from January 14 by the lunar calendar which was called small full-moon day and the following day was called big full-moon day.

From time immemorial, the Korean people held various interesting events on the holiday, reflecting their simple desire for good luck and good harvest in the new year.

According to Jo Myong Chol, researcher at the Folklore Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences, such events included hwajoknori on small full-moon day and welcoming the first full moon on big full-moon day.

On small full-moon day, people stood a long pole and hung different kinds of grains on it, and the pole was called hwajok or pole of cereal stack.

They usually hung on the pole ears of rice, millet, foxtail millet and so on and an opened cotton fruit on the top of them in cotton growing areas.

The pole was put up in the garden or behind the cattle shed and children sang dancing around it.

That day, there took place a major event signalling the start of farming and there was also a custom of spreading paddy and dry fields with manure early on the morning of the day.

The custom reflecting a desire of the Koreans to gather a good harvest by working hard in the new year shows their assiduity.

On the evening of big full-moon day, people went up a high mountain or hill around their villages to view the full moon, which was called welcoming the first full moon.

People said that many good things would happen in the year to the one who saw the rising full moon before others and talked about happiness of families while seeing the moon.

They used to say that a young man would get married to a beautiful and good-natured young woman and a newly-married woman would give birth to a healthy son if they saw the full moon before others .

That is why they would give the road to such a man or woman in welcoming the first full moon so that they could see it before others.

During the holiday, people played various folk games, typically, kite-flying, pinwheel turning and tug of war.

Also, they enjoyed themselves cooking and sharing traditional foods.

The representative foods for the day were ogokpap (boiled rice mixed with four other grains), pokssam and dishes made with nine dried herbs.

The Korean people boiled and ate rice mixed with four other grains on the holiday because it is good for health and they had a simple desire for good harvests of all cereals.

Pokssam is boiled rice wrapped with leaves of salted perilla, dried aster and bok choy kimchi.

On the holiday the Korean people ate ssam (boiled rice wrapped with leaves of vegetables) as they believed they would have good luck if they ate the food that day, so they called it pokssam (pok means good luck).

Nine dried herbs meant no certain herbs but different kinds or lots of herbs in relation to the number nine.

The kinds of the herbs varied by regions but the people generally panbroiled or seasoned mushrooms, bracken, broad bellflower roots, flowering fern, aralia shoots and others.

People said that only when they eat dishes made with nine dried herbs on the holiday, can they be unaffected by summer heat and be in good health throughout the year.

In addition, they made and ate noodles for lunch on January 14 by the lunar calendar.

And they believed that if they crunched raw chestnut, walnut, gingko nut or pine nut, their teeth would become strong.

The Koreans impressively spent Jongwoldaeborum conducting a variety of merry and interesting folk games and ceremonies, with the earnest desire and hope for good luck, good harvest and good haul of fish in the new year.

The impressions of the holiday remained in the memory of people as pleasant subjects of conversation, encouraging them in the laborious farming season.

Today, the Korean people still celebrate Jongwoldaeborum as a traditional holiday every year and the holiday and the custom of welcoming the first full moon were registered as national ICH elements.

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