Hangul Day

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Hangeul Day (한글날)
Hunmin jeong-eum.jpg
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
Type National, Cultural
Significance Commemorates the invention of hangeul
Date October 9 (South Korea)
January 15 (North Korea)
Frequency annual
Hangeul Day
Chosŏn'gŭl Day

The Korean Alphabet Day, known as Hangeul Day (한글날) in South Korea, and Chosŏn'gŭl Day in North Korea, is a national Korean commemorative day marking the invention and the proclamation of Hangul (한글; 조선글), the 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 2013, Hangul Day became a national holiday in South Korea.[1]


South Korea[edit]

In South Korea, the holiday is known as Hangeul Proclamation Day, or Hangeul Day for short, and is celebrated on October 9.

North Korea[edit]

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, the calendar which is in contemporary use. Three years later, the date was moved to October 28, to coordinate the date with that of the Julian Calendar, which had been in use during the 15th century, when King Sejong had made his proclimation.

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 the 1446 lunar calendar was equivalent to October 9 of that same year's Julian calendar. The South Korean government, established in 1945, declared October 9 to be Hangeul Day, a yearly legal holiday which excused government employees from work.

Major employers pressured the Korean government to increase the country's annual number of work days. In 1991, to balance out the adoption of the United Nations Day, it vacated Hangeul Day's status as a holiday. By law, Hangeul Day remained a national commemoration day, and the Hangeul Society campaigned for the holiday's restoration. On November 1, 2012, the Society won that campaign, when the National Assembly voted 189 to 4 (with 4 abstaining) in favor of a resolution that called for the return of Hangeul Day as a national holiday. This put pressure on the Lee Myung Bak administration, which applied the change in 2013.[2][3]


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.[4][5]

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