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Story Others December 14, 2021

Squid Game’s tug-of-war traces its origin to a UNESCO-recognized Korean harvest tradition

The hit Netflix series Squid Game showcases traditional Korean games adapted for its global audience. One of the games in the show, tug-of-war, can be traced to a Korean harvest tradition listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

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Held in Ulsan from November 19 to 21, the Maduhee Festival is a 320-year-old event where citizens wish for a successful harvest. Just as the participants in the Squid Game worked together, this festival shows the spirit of cooperation of Koreans.

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The main event, a giant tug-of-war, is a huge event where thousands of people pull a huge rope that weighs 20 tons. However, to observe safety protocols against COVID-19, the event was replaced by street marches. Across Korea, smaller groups of people were able to experience the traditional game and keep the tradition alive. 

The tradition of playing tug of war continues to be a valuable cultural heritage and representative of the cooperative spirit of Koreans. We at TYM are one with the Korean farmers and citizens hoping for a safer nation and a successful harvest every year.

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