What song comes to mind if you think of Korean songs? Songs popular right now night be what you think of first, of course, but have you ever heard of the song Arirang?

This is a folk song that differs by region but shares the same title everywhere and has been passed down orally for centuries. Being a part of Korea’s oral tradition, it has  no clear author, composer, or lyric writer, and so the tone, rhythm, and words can vary considerably from region to region.

The version Korea is famous for is from the Gyeonggi region and also known as the Gyeonggi Arirang. Other well known “arirangs” include those from Jeongseon (Gangwon-do), Jindo (Jeollanam-do), and Miryang (Gyeongsangnam-do).

A lot of research has looked at what “arirang” actually means, but none of it has been conclusive. Some say it means 아리 (ari) was an ancient word for 아리따운 (beautiful) and 랑 (rang) used to refer to a person. It is a sad song, one that many Koreans thinks best represents Korea. Since so many people think it represents the country, you’ll find a lot of things related to Korea in general that are given the name “arirang”.

Source: Arirang