In South Korea, October 9th is better known as the Korean Alphabet Day (i.e. Hangul Day). Being a national commemorative day, Hangul Day celebrates both the invention and proclamation of Hangul. Since 2006, all provinces of the Korean peninsula have been celebrating the annual Hangul Day in various ways.
This year, the Seoul government held an annual Baekiljang (백일장) writing contest at the Seoul plaza. With its purpose to encourage the use of original Korean Language (순우리말) rather than foreign words (외래어), newly invented words (신조어), or abbreviations (줄임말), Seoul citizens honoured the excellence of Hangul. Along with the contest, the National Korean Language Society held the annual National Korean Language Studies Conference in the Hangul Hall to discuss the status quo of Korean Language research as well as potential desirable ways to develop the language itself.
Not only Seoul but also many other rural areas – such as Yeoju, Daejeon, and Busan – celebrated Hangul Day in their own ways. In Yeoju, the Yeoju Sejong Foundation performed the musical “Sejong, 1446” at the Yeoju Sejong Gugak Center. The musical depicts the ordeal of King Sejong: who lost his eyesight, but did not let go of his will to create Hangul. In Daejeon, the Asian Art Company performed the musical “Madang Curl Cheongsa Chorong” (마당컬청사초롱); with fusion performances created by reinterpreting Kim Yoo-Jung’s novels “Camellia Flower” (동백꽃) and “Spring Spring” (봄봄), the musical was enjoyed by all age groups and nationalities. In Busan, the production crew of the famous K-drama “Goblin” (도깨비) held an exhibition about Hangul, a Korean Quiz Competition, and a Gugak performance. In addition to these events, a large-scale drone light show was performed in the sky of the Gwangan-ri coast to the theme of Hangul; several drones created images of Hangul, Chip Hyeon Jeon, Hun Min Jeong Eum, and King Sejong.
All these events around South Korea truly reflect the sophisticated beauty of Hangul. Considering that such exciting activities are held annually to celebrate Hangul Day, they are perfect opportunities to learn more about Korean culture.
Edited by Tae Hyun (Terry) Kim
Student Writer of the Ko:lon Article
Student at NLCS Jeju