Chuseok Games

chuseok games

Many folk games are played during Chuseok as a welcome of the season. People even dress up as cows and turtles to go door to door along with a nongak music band. The traditional Korean games played vary according to the regions but a few common games are sserium (Korean wrestling), archery, juldarigi, and tug-of-war. These Chuseok games bring families closer and help make their bond stronger. Korean traditional games date back centuries and have a lesson to learn with each of them.

Sserium - 씨름


Sserium (씨름) has about 5000 years of history. Scholars have evidence that sserium has been in existence ever since the Goguryo dynasty. It is one of the folk games played between two players where both players hold onto each-others satba, a red and blue band tied across their thigh, and the one whose upper body gets pinned to the floor first loses. The winner is declared as ‘the most powerful, in Korean they are called Cheonha Jangsa, Baekdu Jangsa, or Halla Jangsa. Since the winner is awarded a bull and a kg of rice, it is one of those traditional Korean games that are not limited to play only during the holidays but any time of the year. 


Taekkyon (태껸 or 택견) is one of the most popular chuseok games during the Joseon period, one of the oldest martial arts there are in Korea. Tournaments are held between players from different villages where players try to knock their opponents with kicks, swipes and pushes. The matches start with children (Aegi Taekkyon) before ending with adults. Though this was one of those traditional Korean games that disappeared during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), it is now considered rich in the cultural heritage of Korea (1983) and UNESCO intangible cultural items (2011). 


Ganggangsullae (강강술래) is a traditional folk dance performed by women who wear their traditional hanbok and form a circle and sing songs going around the circle. Hanbok is traditional two-piece clothing that has a wrapped front top along with a long and high waisted skirt typically available in all vibrant colours. Ganggansullae is mostly performed in Jeollanam-do, a province on the southwestern coast. 

The history of this folk game dates back to when Koreans believed that the sun, moon and the Earth control the universe. They danced under the brightest moon in hope that it would bring a good harvest. In ancient times, Korea was male-dominated and women were not allowed to dance or sing loudly. Ganggangsulle or chuseok games was the time when women were allowed to be free and vent by dancing and singing. The performance includes wonmu (spinning clockwise), walking, running, gatekeeper play (two women hold hands making a gate while others pass through it), and stomping roof tile (three women bend while one walks on their backs with the support of more than two women).


Juldarigi (줄다리기) or tug-of-war is also among popularly played folk games during Chuseok. Tug-of-war is a game played worldwide but in Korea, it has a specific meaning to it. Villagers gather to play and get divided into two teams distributed equally among men and women. The rope used to play with is divided namely as female and male forces of the world. If the female forces won then it is believed that the harvest produced that year would be rich. 

Dak Sa Um

Chicken fight (닭싸움) or Dak Sa Um is of those Korean traditional games inspired by watching actual chicken fights. People are divided into balanced groups and the one contender from each team comes forward. They both then have to hold one of their legs bent up and start attacking each other, the person whose leg touches the ground first loses leaving the other player the winner. Other than winning this game is about speed, strength, balance, staying alive and the capability of fighting back.


Hwatu (화투), also known as go-stop or godori is a card game that includes 12 kinds. The rules of this traditional Korean games are originally from tujeon. While playing this game the players need to score a minimum of three or seven points, once they’ve scored that they need to call go or stop which is derived from the game’s name. When a player calls ‘go’ he risks all his points for the other player if the other player scores the determined number. When the player calls ‘stop’ then the game ends.

People Also Ask

What games are played on Chuseok?

There are a variety of games that can be played on Chuseok. Some examples include the traditional Korean game of yutnori, as well as baduk (a board game similar to Go), tuho (a game played with arrows), neolttwigi (a game played with a seesaw), jegichagi (a game played with a shuttlecock), and ssireum (a form of Korean wrestling).

What is Korean traditional game?

There are many Korean traditional games, but some of the most popular ones are Tuho (a game played with arrows), Yutnori (a game played with sticks and throwing discs), and Jegichagi (a game played with a footbag).

What is the most popular traditional sport in Korea?

Taekwondo is the most popular traditional sport in Korea.

What is Tangsuyuk game?

Tangsuyuk is a game that is popular in Korea. It is similar to the game of Go, but is played with marbles instead of stones.

What is Korea’s most popular game?

Korea’s most popular game is Starcraft.

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