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South Korea celebrates National Foundation Day

On October 3, the Republic of Korea celebrates the creation of the state of Gojoseon (ancient Korea) by the legendary god-king Dangun Wanggeom in 2333 BC. This holiday is called Gaecheonjeol in Korean, which means “the day when the sky opens”, and is known as National Foundation Day in English.

To mark this occasion various commemorative events including the re-enactment of symbolic sacrificial rituals take place throughout the nation. The day is also marked with various activities like public speeches, Taekwondo and other performances by various artists. All schools, public offices and private offices remain closed to honour the South Korean Foundation Day. A special event was to be held in downtown Seoul at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts with some 3,000 people in attendance as well as Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik.

On this day, a simple ceremony is usually held at an altar on top of Mt. Manisan in Ganghwado Province. The altar is said to have been erected by Dangun to offer thanks to his father and grandfather in heaven.

After an armistice was signed with North Korea in 1953, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, Kim Young-sam became South Korea’s first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy, with an increasingly important role in Asia and the entire world.

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