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최종편집 : 2024.04.22 월 19:31
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 Ahn, Hye-ran
[Desk Column] What Do You Do on Korea National Holidays?
제 143 호    발행일 : 2013.10.07 


  Hangul Proclamation Day(Hangul Day) was made a national holiday again starting this year. The day was excluded from national holidays in 1991. Hangul Day was designated as a national holiday on October 9 every year. This was to celebrate Hangul’s promulgation by King Sejong and to encourage the research and dissemination of Hangul. Many people were delighted to hear the news that Hangul Day became a holiday again. However, how many people remember the meaning of Hangul Day and celebrate Hangul Day?
  Maeng Hyeong-gyu(Minister of Ministry of Security and Public Administration) said about Hangul Day, “By remaking Hangul Day a holiday, people will be able to develop cultural identity. Furthermore, Hangul’s position will enhance Korean’s national brand.” However, I am not sure that remaking Hangul Day a holiday can improve Hangul’s status as Minister Maeng says. In a survey of 1,000 adults over 19 in April this year, 83.6 percent claimed they agree with remaking Hangul Day a holiday. Most people think Hangul Day should become a holiday, but I am concerned that they may regard Hangul Day as merely a ‘Red-letter day’. Moreover, this concern is not confined to Hangul Day. 
  Korea’s national days are Samiljeol(March 1), Constitution Day(July 17), National Liberation Day(August 15), National Foundation Day(October 3) and Hangul Day. Of these, Constitution Day was excluded from national holidays despite being a national day. Thus, there is now a total of 4 holidays. The reason for setting national days as national holidays is to remind us of the days’ meanings and to commemorate the days. However, many people don’t know the meanings of each national day.   
  National days are merely days off to people. When some national days are dropped as national holidays, people just feel pity for decreasing holidays. In my childhood, I could easily find the Taegukgi, which is the national flag of Korea, on the street, but now I can see just one or two Taegukigis. People only realize that it is a national day after they see a special documentary or altered main pages of portal sites. People know the exact dates of national days to plan a trip, but only some people remember definitions of national days.
There are only 5 national days in Korea and the days have historic meanings. However, people spend the days meaninglessly. Taking a rest is a good idea on national days. However, why don’t you do a small act such as hanging a Taegeuki or recalling the meaning of the day? 
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