koguryo 's lifestyle & festivals
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  Lifestyles / festivals  

  People of Koguryo were fond of dancing and singing. Because they lived in a tense society, which had to fight wars constantly, and whose rules and laws were stringent, the citizens understandably found a relaxing pastime they needed in festive activities, such as drinking, singing and dancing. Come every October, the kingdom held various events, ceremonies and festive activities, including the Dongmaeng Festival (whose main purpose was to worship the gods of heaven and ancestors), where citizens of all levels gathered and enjoyed the event together. Unlike the memorial services of the Chinese, characterized by rigid formalities and solemn appearances (so as to stir up the fear of gods among viewers), Koguryo's events and ceremonies (the Dongmaeng Festival, in particular) provided a forum of festivity where people mingled with one another, engaging in drinking, singing and dancing activities (in celebration of the "gods' descent to this world").  
pic) Ssireum:Koguryo form of wrestling
 

In the beginning of each year, as was the custom, many village people would join in the festive events held at riverside locations. Kings also used to come and watch citizens enjoying entertainment activities, which included 'stone-throw games,' a custom that has been handed down to the mid-20th century.

Other popular pastime activities the Koguryo people enjoyed included games like "baduk" ("go"), "jang-gi" (Chinese chess), "chukguk" (soccer), dice-play, "yut-nori" (the four-stick game), "tuho" (throwing-arrows-in-jar), ssireum ("sumo") and a bare-hand duel called "subak." Subak eventually evolved into Taekwondo, Korea's most well known martial art, as the sport passed through the Goryeo(Koryo) and Joseon Kingdoms. Ssireum, which has become a very popular sport today, is a game of wrestling in which two players compete to wrestle the other to the ground using cloth-sashes, which are tied around the waists and thighs of the players. People also enjoyed circuses brought from Central Asia, listening to musical performances, or playing musical instruments like the six-string Korean zither or flute.

 


  Hunting was also an important pastime. Interested individuals would form large-scale hunting squads, and run up and down mountains and across open fields. They would set up shooting targets and hold archery-shooting contests. Those with outstanding archery skills were named "Jumong," the nickname of King Chumo who founded the kingdom, a tag of honor. Meanwhile, young people would take academic as well as archery lessons at "gyeongdang," an educational institution, receiving a balanced training that eventually paved the way for the kingdom to foster strong military power.  
pic) Hunting

 

In terms of marriage customs, the kingdom had a practice called "seo-ok-je," in which the bride's family would build an annex ("Seo-ok') to their house and have the new couple live there and rear children until they fully grew up. This custom would disappear toward the late period of the kingdom, when it was replaced by a more liberal concept of marriage, allowing young ones in love to marry without undue delays.

Funerals also carried particular significance. Large-scale funerals were favored and hefty sums of money were paid for them. The objects that the deceased had used during his/her lifetime were buried together with the dead. This custom was modified during the late period of the kingdom, when the belongings of the dead were placed at the side of the grave, so that funeral guests could take them. The Koguryo people would deeply mourn with sorrow and tears at the loss of their loved ones; but as was the custom at the funerals, they would 'send off' the deceased with dances, songs and music.


[Source: Korea.Net]

 


 

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