Seok Jeon is a traditional Korean competition that's roughly akin to "La Tomatina
", the traditional tomato throwing battles held in Buñol, Spain
. Koreans don't throw tomatoes in Seok Jeon, however. They throw rocks
. It's a game that makes Aussie Rules Football
look like a tea social
Seok Jeon traditionally took place during the May 5th (Lunar calendar
festival. Citizens of villages on different sides of rivers would line the river and hurl stones at each other. The team that "won", it was believed, would have good luck for the year. The proof of this, I guess, is in the pudding. When the losing village full of blinded, brain damaged, and generally crippled
farmers failed to bring in a better harvest than your winning village, it was obvious to all the harvest
gods favored Seok Jeon winners.
Stone throwing was particularly popular during the Goguryeo Dynasty
(4th century-7th century). Much like jousting
, it was expected that the king would preside over games of Seok Jeon. Korean kings eventually worked Seok Jeon into military drills and incorporated it into war games. They even formed stone throwing regiments, although their effectiveness against, say, ARCHER
S is questionable.
However useful Seok Jeon was to the Korean army, it became apparent that public games of Seok Jeon were getting out of hand and becoming increasingly violent. Crippling injuries were becoming all too common. The authorities tried to ban the competition, as the increasing number of injured workers became a drain on Korea
. However, much like trying to stop street racing
or dwarf tossing
, such plebeian
entertainment is not easy to stop. Stone fighting continued until the end of the Joseon Dynasty
(1392 - 1910). A more rigid ban was enforced during the Japanese occupation
period and wide spread games of stone throwing have since disappeared.