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Independence Movement Day is a national holiday in South Korea.
Take a walk down Korean culture lane with us and we’ll tell you all about it!
Korea has a number of national holidays, or ‘red days’, each year. This means that most businesses and government offices are closed on these days. However, restaurants and other entertainment venues are often still open.
What is Independence Movement Day in Korea?
Independence Movement Day is also known as 삼일절 (Samiljeol). It is a holiday day dedicated to the March 1st Movement. This protest happened on March 1st 1919, while Korea was occupied by Japan. It was a public demonstration of resistance to Japanese military rule in Korea.
The name 삼일절 (Samiljeol) can be broken into three parts:
삼 = 3
일 = day
절 = festival day (word suffix)
The direct translation is ‘3-1 Festival Day’, which is to remember what happened during the public resistance on March 1st. The demonstrations are also sometimes called 만세운동 (manseundong), which means ‘Manse Demonstrations’.
On March 1, 1919, 33 Korean Movement core activists read the Korean Declaration of Independence. Following that, over 2 million Koreans participated in over 1500 demonstrations nationwide. Many were arrested, wounded, or killed.
This event caused a lot of change for the Korean Independence movement. Many of the leaders of the March 1st Movement fled to other countries and continued their activism there.
Independence Movement Day was declared a national holiday in Korea on May 24, 1949.
How Is Independence Movement Day Celebrated in Korea?
This holiday is celebrated by a reading of the Korean Declaration of Independence from 1919. The reading takes place in Seoul’s Pagoda Park.
태극기 (taegeukgi), the Korean flag, is raised in homes, businesses, and institutions all throughout the country. There are numerous parades, concerts, and exhibitions to commemorate the day.
What will you do to celebrate Independence Movement Day in Korea?