한글날 (aka, Hangul Day)

Today, Oct. 9, is Hangul Day in the Republic of Korea. It’s a Korean national commemorative day marking the invention and the proclamation of hangul (한글).

While it might sound strange to an American to celebrate an alphabet, the Korean alphabet truly is something special. The KoreanHeros.net site says:

Of the six thousand languages in existence, only one hundred have their own alphabets. Of these one hundred languages, Hangul is the only alphabet made by an individual for which the theory and motives behind its creation have been fully set out and explained. … Hangul is neither based on ancient written languages nor an imitation of another set of characters, but an alphabet unique to Korea.

Hangul was introduced to the Korean people through a book titled, Hunmin Chongum. Here is what the KoreanHeros.net says about the book:

The Hunmin Chongum, which contained a systematic analysis of the new alphabet, is also without precedent in history, and October 9th, its original date of publication, has been designated ‘Hangul Day’ by the Korean Government in recognition of its importance. The Hunmin Chongum is only 33 pages long, consisting of four introductory pages written by King Sejong, and twenty-nine pages of commentary added by Jade Hall scholars. Its structure is orderly and its content logical and scientific. The original version, for 500 years thought to have been lost, was rediscovered in a deserted house near Andong in 1940. It is currently being kept in the Kansong Museum as National Treasure no. 70, and was included in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage in 1997.

I’m not sure how Koreans observe this day, but I’ll throw out some ideas for you to use with your family.

– Read The King’s Secret, which I highlighted on Wednesday
– Making hangul cookies (use a roll-out dough that can easily be cut into the hangul characters)
– Learn to right your names in Korean.

You can find more information about the invention of the Korean alphabet by visiting www.koreanhero.net/kingsejong/index.html# and clicking on The Korean Alphabet on the site menu.

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