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Korea National Foundation Day Options
Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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Korea National Foundation Day

This national holiday in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), also known as Gaecheon-jeol, commemorates the legendary founding of the Korean nation in 2333 BCE by Tangun. Prince Hwan-ung left heaven to rule earth from Mt. T'aebaek and bore a son called Tangun Wanggom, meaning Sandalwood King. When he grew up, he built his own city and called his new kingdom Choson. The myth is important in that it links the Korean people with a heavenly origin. The holiday is celebrated with ceremonies at the ancient rock altar of Tangun, on the summit of Mt. Mani on Kanghwa Island, about 25 miles west of Seoul. More...
Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 9:36:41 AM

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S. Korea Celebrates 4,349th National Foundation Day

During a congratulatory ceremony at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon stressed the founding spirit.

"From the old times, the divine heavens were the people and the people were the divine heavens. It is our religion of five millennia that the people must be valued as the heavens. This has become the basic philosophy of the Moon Jae-in government. The government will be earnest in prioritizing each of those in hardship..."

Local governments nationwide held about 200 events to celebrate the anniversary, while the country’s embassies and missions abroad held another 130 celebratory events around the world.
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Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 9:44:43 AM

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Korea National Foundation Day
Korea National Foundation Day (Tangun Day, Tangun Accession Day)
Type of Holiday: National
Date of Observation: October 3
Where Celebrated: North Korea, South Korea
Symbols and Customs: Offerings, Speeches


Also known as Tangun Day or Tangun Accession Day, Korea National Foundation Day commemorates the establishment of the Choson Kingdom in 2333 B . C ., marking the beginning of the Korean society and way of life. Korea National Foundation Day

According to Korean legend, Tangun (alternately, Dangun or Tan-gun) was the son of a god and a bear-woman. As the first leader of the Korean people, Tangun created a system of government that instituted laws and moral codes of behavior. He also gave the Korean people skills in such areas as art, medicine, and agriculture. Tangun is thought to have ruled Korea for more than 1,000 years before becoming a mountain god.

Korea National Foundation Day, which celebrates Korean culture and the achievements of the Korean people, is a national holiday in South Korea. National holidays can be defined as those commemorations that a nation's government has deemed important enough to warrant inclusion in the list of official public holidays. They tend to honor a person or event that has been critical in the development of the nation and its identity. Such people and events usually reflect values and traditions shared by a large portion of the citizenry. It is a day of national pride for Koreans all over the world, although most public celebrations occur in South Korea. North Korea does not recognize the day as an official national holiday. In 2002, however, North Korean leaders participated with South Korea in a joint observance of the day for the first time since the Korean peninsula was divided in 1948.



Each year on National Foundation Day, a ceremony to honor Tangun is held at the Chamseongdan altar, located at the summit of Mt. Manisan on the southwestern point of Ganghwado Island in South Korea. This altar is said to have been built by Tangun and is itself a legendary place of worship and sacrifice favored by ancient kings throughout Korean history.


National Foundation Day has become an occasion for politically themed speeches delivered by South Korean government leaders.


Cumings, Bruce. Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. Henderson, Helene, ed. Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 3rd ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2005. Rees, David. Korea: An Illustrated History from Ancient Times to 1945. New York: Hippocrene Books: 2001.


Life in Korea
Holiday Symbols and Customs, 4th ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2009

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