Hangul is the Korean word for alphabet and was created October 9, 1446 by King Sejong. Before the creation of Hangul, South Korea (known as Joseon at the time) used classical Chinese letters. Hangul was created to allow everyone from all social classes to be able to read and write, for there are many characters in the Chinese characters, and not everyone back then had the privilege for education.
Hangul has evolved since it was first invented in 1446, but only a few things have been changed or taken out during that time! Korean is a phonetic language and the letters of the consonants are in the shape the mouth takes when saying them. There are nineteen consonants and twenty-one vowels in Hangul. It may seem like a lot, but each vowel sound has it own letter, which helps with pronunciation and it is easy to learn!
In 1945, the Korean government declared October 9th a legal holiday, which gave government workers a day off. Then in 2013, Hangul Day became a national holiday for everyone to have a day off.
2009 marked the 563rd anniversary of the invention of Hangul, and a bronze statue of King Sejong was built in Gwanghwamun Plaza in Seoul.
During Hangul Day, people will visit the King Sejong Memorial Hall, located in Cheongnyangni-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul. The entrance can be found behind the statue of King Sejong. Inside are several exhibition rooms about the creation of Hangul and other accomplish during King Sejong’s reign.
Another place to visit in celebration is the Tomb of King Sejong, which is located in Wangdae-ri, Neungseo-myeon, Yeoju-si, Gyeonggi-do. The tomb is well-kept and modest, and there is also a small museum which covers some of King Sejong’s greatest achievements.
During Hangul day, some choose to celebrate by wearing hanbok, but it is not a requirement. Some consider Hangul Day a special occasion in which hanbok should be worn since the time in which King Sejong ruled is often known as the Golden Period. It is known as this because of enlightenment and knowledge, instead of war and invasion, are defining moments of history. He is also viewed as being the best king of Korea by many, and his picture is on the 10,000 won bill!
How familiar are you with the Korean alphabet? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Ashton Carson