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Korean name
강강술래 or 강강수월래
Revised RomanizationGanggangsullae or Ganggangsuwollae
McCune–ReischauerKanggangsullae or Kanggangsuwŏllae

Ganggangsullae (Hangul: 강강술래) is a 5,000-year-old traditional Korean dance. It was first used to bring a good harvest and has become a cultural symbol for Korea. The females in Jeollanam-do usually dance this the most.[1] Chuseok, the Korean style holiday a bit like the American Thanksgiving, is often known as the special day for this dance.

History[change | change source]

The dance is thought to have come from about 5,000 years ago when the Koreans believed that the Sun, Moon, and Earth controlled the world. The people (almost always girls in hanboks) would dance under the brightest full moon of the year in order to bring a good harvest.

In the 16th century, when the Japanese were attacking Korea, Korea's Admiral Yi Sun-sin ordered women to do this dance. He told them to do this because he wanted to trick the Japanese into overestimating them. The women were said to have worn military uniforms and danced on Mount Okmae (옥매산).[2][3][4][5]

On February 15, 1966, ganggangsullae was included in the list of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Korea #8.[1]

Description[change | change source]

Traditionally, this dance performed without any instruments. Young and old women dance in a circle at night under the moonlight. They go outside in hanbok, traditional Korean clothing, hold hands, make a circle, and start rotating clockwise. The lead singer sings a line. Then, the rest of the people all sing, 'ganggangsullae'. Then the lead singer sings another line, and the rest of the people reply, 'ganggangsullae'. This is probably where the name of the song came from. As the dance continues, the tempo of the song can get faster. They sing about their personal hardships, relationships, and wants. During the dance, the women also play some games. The ganggangsullae can last until dawn.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Ganggangsullae Dance".
  2. "Ganggang Sullae, Thanksgiving Day Festival".
  3. "Ganggangsullae of Sopo".
  4. "Ganggangsullae".
  5. Yi, I-hwa; Ju-Hee Park (translator) (2006). Korea's pastimes and customs: A Social History. Homa & Sekey Books. pp. 170–172. ISBN 978-1-931907-38-5.
  6. Yi, I-hwa; Ju-Hee Park (translation) (2006). Korea's pastimes and customs: A Social History. Homa & Sekey Books. pp. 170–172. ISBN 1931907382.

Related pages[change | change source]