A Jige Discovery Experience in Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, South Korea
Recommended Books to Know More About Korean Culture
What is Jige ? I saw this really unique back-carrier during my visit to Seoul. It was displayed at the entrance of Bukchon Hanok Village, an exquisite Korean traditional village with 600 years history.
The Korean called it “Jige”, originated from the Korean verb “Jida”. "Jida"means to lift something and place it on one's back in Korean language. The "ge" öf "Jige" is a Korean suffix, forming a noun.
Korean is often proud of its invention. The Korean believes that Jige is one of the greatest tools they have invented. Usually made of pines which are readily available in Korean forest, the basket is inserted into Y-shape wooden frame. The wooden frame comes with two strong and long wooden legs arranged like an “A” shape. A few shorter wooden hands stretched out to support the basket. The shoulder straps allow the user to hang the carrier to his shoulder. At the part where the user’s back is in direct contact with the basket, a thick straw-woven pad is attached, for user’s comfort. When not in used, the Jige can be put in resting position with a long wooden stick to support it in standing position.
I tried carrying it and the big one is heavy, it weighs easily about 10kg. Imagine carrying this carrier with loads of goods up the hills, a laborious task indeed. It shows how hardworking and difficult life the older Korean generation has to bear. I think the device speaks a lot about the Korean people and culture that often manifest diligence, dedication, perfectionism, and quality in their work and products.
About Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is the perfect destination for those seeking to learn about and enjoy the beauty of traditional Korean-style house (“Hanok” in Korean) and catch a glimpse into the 600-year history of Seoul in a few hours. The Hanoks are well preserved in this village and they are clustered between two palaces with stretching alleys branch out across the beautiful surroundings. In different atmosphere and form, a walk through Bukchon’s narrow alleys will bring you the fun and excitement experience similar to a walk through the small streets of Venice.
The Wishing Tree
Koreans like to make a wish on this wishing tree. They will write down their wishes on pieces of colourful paper. Then they will roll the papers and tie it onto a rope like a ribbon. When the rope is filled with wishing ribbons, it will then be tied to the wish tree, which is actually piles of wood. When night comes, they will light up the fire and burn the wishing tree down. The Korean believes that as they perform this ritual, their wishes will come true.
You can actually see this wishing tree in the Bukchon Hanok Village. Many Koreans and foreigners will gather around the wishing tree, write down their wishes and tie it to the rope to be hung on the tree. It is an interesting experience. The wishing tree is as tall as 7 to 8 feet, colourful and filled with people's hope, written in many different languages.
Knowing South Korea
I have been to about 21 countries around the world, and South Korea fascinates me the most. If you like to know a country that still strongly upholds its own culture, consider visiting South Korea. You maybe overwhelm by its culture. Here are more articles about Korea from me :
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- Close To You ........ A Korean Love Poem
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