National folk museum strives to keep Jeongwol Daeboreum alive
Jeongwol Daeboreum is not a state-designated public holiday today, but this day of the first moon on the lunar calendar, which falls on Feb. 15 this year, was said to be the biggest holiday traditionally, more than the actual Lunar New Year.
It is said that the festive mood was in the air during the 15 days from the Lunar New Year, leading up to Jeongwol Daeboreum. The eve of Jeongwol Daeboreum was celebrated like today’s Christmas or the New Year. Kids knocked on the doors of their neighbors to ask for a bowl of ogokbap, or a rice cooked using five grains, and refused to go to bed as they believed their eyebrows would turn white if they fell asleep. (Adults took part and teased children by painting their eyebrows with flour if they fell asleep.)
The National Folk Museum of Korea has been organizing various programs every year to preserve and celebrate this traditional holiday. The museum said it has organized various online and offline programs this year so that even those in quarantine can enjoy the holiday.
“Because of the belief that a good start brings a good year, Jeongwol Daeboreum was one of the biggest holidays for our ancestors,” said Yi Eun-mi, one of the curators at the museum who organized the programs. Rituals that got carried out on this day like eating ogokbap, cracking bureom, or nuts, and drinking cold rice wine known as guibargi wine, were all to “wish for the welfare and abundance as well as preventing bad luck while the village community united as one.”
At the museum’s Seoul and Paju branches, there will be various activities for families with children.
At the museum’s Seoul branch, located near Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul, a Daeboreum (Full moon) Scavenger Hunt has been organized. Kids, with help from their parents, can solve quizzes about the full moon to win a prize. Visitors can participate in playing various folk games such as jegi-chagi (footbag-kicking), tuho (arrow tossing), yutnori (a board game using four wooden sticks) and paengi-chigi (top-spinning). There will also be game of juldarigi, or traditional Korean tug of war. The traditional Korean tug of war is on Unesco’s Intangible cultural heritage list. There are different styles of juldarigi found in different regions across Korea. The one available at the museum will be from Gijisi village’s in Dangjin, South Chungcheong.
At the museum’s new branch in Paju, Gyeonggi, there will be a fortune-telling corner for those who want to see what their year ahead may look like. Visitors can also participate in a game to look for different information about the full moon in the museum’s digital archive and win a prize. At both branches, families can decorate their own “evil-preventing kites” organized by the museum and fly them outside. All programs end on Feb. 15.
The Korea Craft and Design Foundation has also worked together with the museum and kicked off an exhibition titled “A Bright Round Moon” on Saturday. Visitors can witness different folk games recreated by craftsmen and “wish for a good healthy year” upon a full moon installation created using Korean traditional paper known as hanji, according to the foundation.
For those at home, there are more programs made available online at the foundation’s metaverse on Naver’s Zepeto. For more information, visit www.kculture.or.kr
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [firstname.lastname@example.org]