Today is the 567th anniversary of the introduction of Hangul, the Korean language. King Sejong officially introduced the Korean alphabet through the, now, historical document of the Hunmin Jeongeum in the year 1447.
In 1945, the Korean government designated October 9th as a public holiday called Hangul Day in commemoration of the Korean language. The day was celebrated as a public holiday every year until 1991, when it was abruptly taken off the list of “red” days in Korea. But today, twelve years later on this October 9th, we celebrate the first year that Hangul Day has been reinstated as a public holiday.
A majority of the festivities in commemoration of the occasion are being held in the Gwanghwamun area in the Jongno District in central Seoul. The event that I attended was the “Korean Flower, Korean Dream” exhibition being held in the yard of the National Museum of Contemporary Korean History. The exhibition is being sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as part of the Hangul Day festivities. It was organized by the Hello Museum, which was the first art museum in Korea dedicated to children. And children and family are the reason that this exhibition piqued my interest.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill exhibition. As I found out, it is an exhibition for the whole family to attend. I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes with Yssac Kim, the director of the Hello Museum.
“No matter if you’re a child or an adult, there is no feeling of separation because of age. Instead, this exhibition is for the whole family, or groups of friends. It is an exhibition that promotes the exchange of dialogue and ideas.”
The care and preparation that went into the event were apparent as I toured the yard, which is all part of the exhibition itself. Hangul Day works of art were set up throughout the area and lit up to bring the whole landscape alive with art and Korean language. When I stepped into the main exhibition hall, the first thing I saw was a group of children who seemed to be enjoying themselves. They appeared to be in high spirits, so I couldn’t help but ask why they were having such a good time.
“It’s fun because I feel like I’m experiencing something new and I see pretty pictures that are out of the ordinary as well.
“Being able to talk to somebody while experiencing this event together is much more fun than doing it by myself.”
It looked like such a good time that I decided to give one of the exhibits a try.
This particular hands-on craft station had an assortment of stamps that could be used to create works of art and, of course, all the stamps were letter stamps in honor of Hangul Day.
But the exhibition was not focused solely on children. It was an event set up for the whole family.
“Adults are able to come and enjoy the exhibition that has been prepared for the Hangul Day event. For instance, this pillar beside me has a Korean proverb on each line.”
Parents seemed especially pleased that their children were able to have such a good time while learning something at the same time:
“Although we encounter Korean every day, here it is presented in a way that is easy to understand and that children can use every day, so I think it’s really great.”
The exhibition featured many beautiful works of art that could be easily appreciated by both parents and children alike. Here, viewers were able to not only see the Korean language, but experience it through art. It was truly an exhibition that stayed true to its name: “Korean Flower,” the blooming of children, into a more fantastic “Korean Dream” for the future.
What a beautiful exhibition for the whole family to enjoy together
It is, and not only that, the works of art were beautiful as well. The incredible detail put into making the Korean language, Hangul, into works of art was amazing.
Each PIECE // WORK [[not “piece of work”]] was alive because of the care and effort put into turning the language into art.
Well, there are a great many events scheduled for Hangul Day, but this definitely seems like one event that is a must see.
It is, and it’s definitely one that is not just a “must see” but a “must experience” event.
For more details on all the programs and times, check out http://www.Hangeulfestival.com
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Picture Source: Hyunwoo Cho