Jo Feb 22, 2024

Coming February 24 is Jongwoldaeborum (lunar January 15). From ancient times, our people have pleasantly celebrated the day as a great folk holiday second to the lunar New Year’s Day.

Among the typical dishes for the day are ogokbap and nine kinds of side dishes made of dried vegetables.

Ogokbap is boiled rice admixed with four other staple cereals. The five cereals vary a little in different areas, but the most common ones are rice, foxtail millet, sorghum, bean and adzuki bean.

Nine kinds of side dishes made of dried vegetables are usually cooked on the day.

In a strict sense, the nine kinds are not fixed, but mean “a variety of” or “lots of” vegetables because nine is the biggest figure.

Popular materials for the nine kinds of side dishes were leaves of pepper plants, bracken, fern, goosefoots, etc. in Pyongyang and its vicinity, where they were also called “black herbs” as they were black. And they were roots of bellflowers, todok, leopard plants, seaweed, etc. in the areas of Hamgyong Province and mushroom, dried slices of pumpkin or radish, etc. in Kangwon Province and its neighbouring districts.

It has been said that eating nine kinds of dried vegetables on the day keeps people healthy and resistant to the summer heat for the whole year.

The custom of enjoying special meals with ogokbap and nine dishes of dried vegetables on the full moon day is associated with the pioneering spirit and love for the native land of our people, who have created and developed their own way of dietary life and food culture with various common food materials in their home places.

The custom also reflects the scrupulous household management and economization spirit of our people, who have stored foodstuffs like dried vegetables, edible herbs and seaweeds for effective use in winter and made economical use of even a kind of food material without any waste.

In addition, the custom shows our people’s civilized concept of health care saying that they could keep themselves healthy by eating ogokbap and various kinds of vegetables as they could take various kinds of nutritious substances from a variety of food.

The custom is still being handed down, adding national flavor to our life.