Hunmin Jeongeum Eonhae
|Official name||Hangeul Day (한글날)
Chosun-gul Day (조선글날)
|Also called||Hangeul Proclamation Day
Korean Alphabet Day
|Observed by||North Koreans and South Koreans|
|Significance||Commemorates the invention of hangeul|
|Date||October 9 (South Korea)
January 15 (North Korea)
The Korean Alphabet Day, known as Hangeul Day in South Korea, and Chosŏn'gŭl Day in North Korea, is a national Korean commemorative day marking the invention and the proclamation of the Korean alphabet (한글; 조선글), the native alphabet of the Korean language, by the 15th century Korean monarch Sejong the Great. It is observed on October 9 in South Korea and on January 15 in North Korea.
In South Korea, the holiday is known as Hangeul Proclamation Day, or Hangeul Day, for short and is celebrated on October 9.
In North Korea, the holiday is called Chosŏn'gŭl Day and is celebrated on January 15 to mark the date, January 15, 1444 (1443 in lunar calendar), which is believed to be that of the actual creation of Hunmin Jeongeum.
According to the Sejong Sillok (세종실록;世宗實綠), King Sejong proclaimed publication of Hunmin Jeongeum (훈민정음;訓民正音), the document introducing the newly created alphabet which was also originally called by the same name, in the ninth month of the lunar calendar in 1446. In 1926, the Hangeul Society celebrated the octo-sexagesimal (480th) anniversary of the declaration of hangeul on the last day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, which is on November 4 of the Gregorian calendar. Members of the Society declared it the first observance of "Gagyanal" (가갸날). The name came from "Gagyageul" (가갸글), an early colloquial name for hangeul, based on a mnemonic recitation beginning "gagya geogyeo" (가갸거겨). The name of the commemorative day was changed to "Hangullal" in 1928, soon after the term "hangul", coined originally in 1913 by Ju Si-gyeong, became widely accepted as the new name for the alphabet. The day was then celebrated according to the lunar calendar.
In 1931, the celebration of the day was switched to October 29 of the Gregorian calendar. In 1934, arose the claim that they must assume that the Julian calendar was used in 1446, so the date was again changed to October 28.
The discovery in 1940 of an original copy of the Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye, a volume of commentary to the Hunmin Jeongeum that appeared not long after the document it commented upon, revealed that the Hunmin Jeongeum was announced during the first ten days (sangsun; 상순; 上旬) of the ninth month. The tenth day of the ninth month of 1446 of the lunar calendar in 1446 was equivalent to October 9 of the Julian calendar. After the South Korean government was established in 1945, Hangeul Day was declared as a legal holiday to be marked on October 9, on which governmental workers are excused from work.
Its legal status as a holiday was removed in 1991 because of pressure from major employers to increase the number of working days, along with the introduction of the Korean United Nations Day. However, Hangeul Day still retains a legal status as a national commemoration day. The Hangeul Society has campaigned to restore the holiday's former status, but with little impact until November 1, 2012 when supporters won their biggest victory yet as the National Assembly voted 189 to 4 (4 abstained) in favor of a resolution calling for the restoration of Hangeul Day. This puts pressure on the Lee Myung Bak administration to make Hangeul Day a public holiday. This change has been applied, making Hangeul Day a national holiday starting in 2013.
In 2009, in celebration of the 563rd anniversary of the invention of the Korean alphabet by King Sejong, the 6.2-meter high, 20-ton bronze statue of King Sejong the Great of Joseon at Gwanghwamun Plaza in Seoul, was unveiled to the public.
- "Starting Next Year, Rest on Hangeul Day (Korean: 내년부터 한글날 쉰다…22년만에 공휴일 재지정)". Yonhap News. 7 November 2012.
- "Hangul Day a national holiday again (Korean: 직장인들'활짝 웃을'준비하시고~"클릭!")". Korea Joongang Daily. 9 November 2012.
- "Remembering Hangul". Joongang Daily. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Statue of King Sejong is unveiled". Joongang Daily. 10 October 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2013.