Every 9 October is Hangeul Day in South Korea to commemorate the invention of the Korean alphabet in the year 1443. Sometimes, this holiday is also called “Korean Language Day”.
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It was Korean King Sejong, in conjunction with some scholars, who created Korea’s distinctive writing system. Three years after it was invented, it was first put into common use in 1446.
The purpose of the new system was to increase literacy levels in Korea. The complex non-alphabetic system in use up till then was simply too hard for the people at large to learn. Also, the old system had been based on Chinese writing, while the new one was uniquely Korean. For this reason, Hangeul Day is as much a patriotic holiday as it is a celebration of the Korean language and alphabet.
In the 1920s, while under the control of the Empire of Japan, Koreans first began to celebrate Hangeul Day. It was a form of protest against the occupation and against the suppression of Korean language and culture that was underway at that time. After freedom was restored to South Korea after World War II, Hangeul Day became an official holiday in the year 1949.
In 1990, Hangeul Day was dropped from the official holiday calendar of South Korea. Then, it gained partial recognition in 2005 and full public holiday status again in 2013.
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