8월 15일은 광복절입니다. August 15th is Korean Independence Day.
Korean Independence Day is called 광복절 (gwang bok jeol) in Korean, which commemorates the liberation of Korea from 35 years of Japanese colonization in 1945. 광복 (gwangbok) means ‘the restoration of light’ and 절 (jeol) means ‘a period, time’. Gwangbokjeol was officially designated as a public holiday in 1949, and is one of public holidays in South Korea, which is celebrated annually on August 15. Although the same day is also a public holiday in North Korea, it is called differently, 조국해방의 날 (jogook haebang-ui nal), meaning ‘the liberation day of the motherland’. In fact, Gwangbokjeol is one of few public holidays celebrated by both South and North Korea.
In South Korea, there are a number of public events happening on the day. For example, at the Independence Hall of Korea, there is an official ceremony attended by the President, official personnel, and other invitees. And there are special cultural events offered, such as music performances. Many buildings and private homes are encouraged to display the national flag to celebrate the day.
Together with Gwangbokjeol, 삼일절 (sam il jeol) is another important public holiday in South Korea, which is celebrated on March 1; 삼 (sam) means 3 and 일 (il) means 1. On March 1, 1919, while Korea was still under Japanese colonial rule, people started a peaceful resistance movement against Japan, after the news spread that the King was murdered by Japan. People marched down the streets, while wagging the national flags and shouting “Long hail to Korea!”.
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