Many corporations held an event joined by many to participate in the 569th celebration of Hangul Proclamation Day, or better known as simply Hangul Day, early this month on October 9th. Hangul Day is a national holiday for the purpose of celebrating and honoring the invention of Korea’s alphabet known as Hangul. Its significance is due to a rich cultural history and national pride.
In September, 1446 Sejong the Great, who was the 4th king in the Joseon Dynasty period, announced that he made a new phonetic alphabet called Hangul for the public. During that time only the highest noble class in Korean society were skilled at reading and writing because of the extremely complex system called “hanja”, which essentially adapted the Korean language to using Chinese characters. The fact that King Sejong created a system which encouraged the majority of the Korean people to read and write is what makes its invention so significant. For this reason, Hangul also was originally published with the title “Hun-min-Jeong-Eum” which means “Proper Sounds for the Education of the People.”
Hangul is a unique language, because its sounds conform to the natural pattern of human vocal cords and is recognized as a world class, scientifically superior writing system. In October, 1997 the “Hun-min-Jeon-Eum” manual was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage treasure. It was a chance to prove the superior of a Hangul.
There were many events for celebrating Hangul Day. In Seoul, the “Gwanghwamun Gate Hangul Festival” was held where the city displayed special events like exhibitions, performances and fashion shows related to Hangul. Also the National Hangul Museum was opened.
Although Hangul’s invention has always been celebrated, its legal status as a South Korea government holiday was not declared until 1945, shortly after the South Korean government was established. Since then, its status has been a somewhat bumpy road.
Due to pressure from major companies concerning the already high number of national holidays, Hangul Day was removed from the national holiday list in 1991 with some controversy. 22 years later, following a lengthy restoration campaign led by The Hangeul Society which stressed the cultural significance of the invention of Hangul, the day was finally nationally reestablished in 2013.