Constitution Day (South Korea)
Street along a road in Seoul during Constitution Day. Flags are hung up along street lights during this day.
|Official name||Constitution Day|
|Observed by||South Koreans|
|Type||Observed, Not a Federal Holiday|
|Significance||Marks the proclamation of the South Korean constitution|
|Next time||17 July 2016|
Constitution Day (Korean: 제헌절) in South Korea is on 17 July, the day that the South Korean constitution was proclaimed in 1948. The date was deliberately chosen to match the founding date of 17 July of the Joseon Dynasty.
Although the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Imperial Japanese rule by the Allies at the end of World War II on 15 August 1945, it was caught in the middle of a Cold War power struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States. It took until 1948 for a democratic election for National Assembly members to be held in South Korea. The elected assembly members set upon creating a constitution, and decided upon a presidential and unicameral system. The constitution was formally adopted and promulgated by South Korean President Syngman Rhee on 17 July 1948.
Constitution Day was proclaimed to be a South Korean national holiday on 1 October 1949, with the creation of the National Holiday Law. A commemorative ceremony is held with the President, Chairman of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the original constitutional assembly members in attendance, and citizens hang the national flag in commemoration. Special activities such as marathons are often held.
Since 2008, Constitution Day in South Korea is no longer a "no work" public holiday, following the restructure of laws regarding the public sector with a 40-hour work week. It is still a national holiday for commemoration.