Korean Language Blog

New Years Games Posted by on Jan 4, 2009 in Culture

Koreans celebrate the New Year with many traditional games.  Yay!  Games!  Seriously, who doesn’t like games?!  Some of the games that I’m about to list are not actually games, they’re more like traditional activities that people perform during the New Year’s celebrations.  Nonetheless, they’re quite fun and interesting, so remember to enjoy them and have fun.

The easiest game to play is paengichiki (파엔기치기).  Paengichigi (파엔기치기) is a game where players try to knock over the other person’s spinning top.  The person who has the spinning top still running is the winner.  First you take the spinner in your hands and let it drop to the ground.  Then you take a whip to strike the spinning top so that it continues to spin.  I love playing this game on ice.  When the spinner is put on ice, it spins way more rapidly than the floor.  It’s a challenge to play on ice because you have to concentrate on the spinning top and yet make sure not to slip on the ice as well.

If you have good hand-eye coordination, you might want to try tuho (투호).  Tuho (투호) is a game where you throw arrows into a vase.  The person who has the most arrows in the vase is the winner.  The vases may have several holes.  The main hole is in the middle.  The goal is to try to get the most arrows in the main hole.  The other holes don’t count so if your arrows land there it’ll just be a waste of energy!

Here’s a game you can play by yourself: jegi-chagi (재기차기).  Jegi-chagi (재기차기) is a game of hacky sack.  The American version of hacky sack involves a player kicking a bag filled with beans into the air.  However, jegi-chagi (재기차기) is a little different.  Instead of a bag of beans, a shuttlecock is used.  The tip of the shuttlecock is covered with a coin.  A piece of cloth covers the coin.  This allows the shuttlecock to have a light base and a heavy top.  The goal is to keep the shuttlecock in the air, using just your legs.  If you use your arms or let it fall to the ground, then you’ve lost the game.  My legs became so sore and I had muscle spams after playing it for an hour.  Jegi-chagi (재기차기) is a great form of exercise.  It’s fun for all ages and easy to play.  Really, everyone can participate.

Lastly, the hardest game to play is neolttwigi (널뛰기).  Neolttwigi (널뛰기) is a game of seesaw.  The object of the game is to stay on the seesaw through a series of jumps, without falling down.  This game is physically exhausting.  First you have to jump and make sure your end of the seesaw touches the floor without falling.  Then the person on the other end of the seesaw has to do the same.  Honestly I like the American version of seesaw better because you just have to sit and let the other person do all the work.  Unfortunately neolttwigi (널뛰기) is a game of jumping so no sitting is allowed.

So remember everyone, whatever you do this New Years, have fun and enjoy yourselves!

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