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Arirang, lyrical folk song in the Republic of Korea
Song So-hee performing "Arirang"
CountryRepublic of Korea
RegionAsia and the Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription2012 (7th session)
Arirang folk song in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
A man about to depart on a journey through a mountain pass is seen off by a woman in a scene from the Arirang Festival in North Korea.
CountryDemocratic People's Republic of Korea
RegionAsia and the Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription2014 (9th session)
Korean name
Revised Romanizationarirang
Arirang performed by the United States Army Band Chorus with a tenor singer

"Arirang" (아리랑; [a.ɾi.ɾaŋ]) is a Korean folk song. It is sometimes thought of as the unofficial national anthem of Korea.[1] There are almost 3,600 variations for 60 versions of the song. All of these have a part of the song similar to "Arirang, arirang, arariyo (아리랑, 아리랑, 아라리요)".[2] People think that the song is almost 600 years old.[3]

"Arirang" is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list two times. This is because both South Korea and North Korea submitted the song for being included on the list. South Korea submitted the song in 2012[2] and North Korea submitted the song in 2014.

History[change | change source]

Origin[change | change source]

People think that "Arirang" came from Jeongseon in the Gangwon Province of South Korea. According to a legend, the song came from the story of a man and a woman who fell in love. This was while they were picking camellia flowers. In one version of the story, the man can't cross the Auraji river because the water is too high. Because of this, they sing a song to show how sorrowful they were. In the second version of the story, the man tries to cross the Auraji and drowns. In that version, he sings the song after he dies.[4]

Another theory says that the song came from Lady Aryeong. It says that "arin" came from the Jurchen word for "hometown" and a Chinese song called "Airang."[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "N. Korea's Arirang wins UNESCO intangible heritage status". Yonhap News Agency. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Arirang, lyrical folk song in the Republic of Korea". Intangible Cultural Heritage. UNESCO. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  3. Chung, Ah-young (6 December 2012). "'Arirang' makes it to UNESCO heritage". The Korea Times. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  4. The National Folk Museum of Korea (2014). Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Literature. Vol. Encyclopedia of Korean Folklore and Traditional Culture Vol. III. 길잡이미디어. pp. 95–96. ISBN 8928900840.
  5. "From lyrical folk song to cheering song: variations of 'Arirang' in Korean history". The Korea Times. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.