Arirang Folk Song

Arirang Folk Song

Have you heard of the Intangible Cultural Heritage designated by UNESCO?


According to the UNESCO site, it defines the term “cultural heritage” as follows,

Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

In this event, Arirang, the lyrical folk song in the Republic of Korea, was inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Do you know what Arirang really is?

Many of you might have heard the song relevantly already since it is the most popular Korean folk song  and is the outcome of collective contributions made by ordinary Koreans over many generations.


The song has  a simple lyrics singing “Arirang, arirang, arariyo” and additional two simple lines differing from region to region.


The form of music and composition makes it easier for improvisation, imitation and singing in unison. Thus, the song can be adapted to various different  musical genres.


Due to its popularity, sometimes it is considered as the unofficial national anthem of Korea.

Arirang is an ancient native Korean word with no direct modern meaning. But it is the name of a Korean mountain pass.

The meaning of the song:

Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo…
Crossing over Arirang Pass.
Dear who abandoned me [here]
Shall not walk even ten Li before his/her feet hurt.

Let us enjoy the beautiful traditional culture of Korea through the musical song!


Reference: Visit Korea website and UNESCO website.


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