Gijisijuldarigi, A Tug-Of-War Held to Pray for A Bountiful Harvest
The gijisijuldarigi is an old traditional game that brings people together after the autumn harvest and they work alongside each other to make a tug-of-war rope made from rice straws.
Gijisi is situated in the middle region of Korea. The gijisi is famous for the tug-of-war that pits one team from the upriver village against another team from the downriver village.
The tug-of-war tradition took hold in Gijisi due to its geographical location. The string of villages around Gijisi form the shape of a centipede and so the villagers decided to fashion a rope in the likeness of a centipede. They would press down on this rope, believing that it would bring them good fortune if they did so.
Rice straws that were once laden with rice grains are used to make the tug-of-war rope. There is a symbolic meaning to this because rice was a staple grain.
To make the tug-of-war rope, rice straws are twisted together. Two people work together to twist the rice straws. While one person twists the rice straws to make a rope, the other person will use a wooden stick to twist the rope. The two people must work together in unison in order to make a strong rope with even proportions.
An efficient labor management structure is necessary for labor-intensive farming and this underlying structure is made stronger through teamwork activities such as making a tug-of-war rope. This is one of the reasons why the tug-of-war game takes place before the rice-planting begins. The 20-ton rope with a diameter of 2 meters is finally made after deploying the ingenuity of ancient Koreans with a team of villagers working together in harmony.