October 9th is 한글날!
This Friday, October 9th is Hangeul Day in Korea. As you may know already, Hangeul is a unique Korean language writing system invented by King Sejong in 1442 A.D. The Korean government appointed October 9 as a national holiday to commemorate the establishment of Hangeul as well as to promote its scientific beauty to the world.
Let me briefly explain the history of Hangeul’s invention. Prior to Hangeul, Korean ancestors wrote in Chinese letters but communicated in Korean. Can you imagine how cumbersome and difficult this was, especially to ordinary people? Even though back then written language was a simplified version of original Chinese letters, commoners had a hard time learning it. King Sejong, who noticed this problem, embarked on creating pure Korean letters that people in all levels can use in a uniform way. The original name of Hangeul, the native alphabet of the Korean language is Hunminjeongeum, which is also the name of the book published when the 28 letters were made public in 1446.
During the week of Hangeul day, many cultural events will take place throughout the nation. For example, about 100 writers and designers show off Hangeul calligraphy in Gwanghwamun Plaza, and also Hangeul postcards exhibition is held in Cheonggye Plaza. Further, foreign students taking Korean language class in Seoul can participate in Korean speech contests.
In recent years, Hangeul has appeared in a variety of areas such as fashion accessories, arts, fast fashion etc., and those who desire to learn about the language have been increasing every year. On October 1, 1997, it was registered as a UNESCO Memory of the World.
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Words Hangeul: 한글 History: 역사 Postcard: 엽서 Hunminjeongeum: 훈민정음 Cheonggye Plaza: 청계 광장 Gwanghwamun Plaza: 광화문 광장