The National Foundation Day ‘Gae Cheon Jeol’
The National Foundation Day ‘Gae Cheon Jeol’
  • Reporter Shin Jae-kwang
  • 승인 2009.09.23 16:43
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What is Gae Cheon Jeol?
Gae Cheon Jeol is on Oct. 3 and it is more than just a national holiday. For those who do not know about Gae Cheon Jeol, it can be described as the National Foundation Day of Go Joseon, the fore country of Korea. Go Joseon was founded by Dangun, who was said to be the grandson of God. There is a background myth behind Gae Cheon Jeol which is called the Dangun Myth.

The Dangun Myth, the oldest tale in Korea
The Dangun Myth contains the foundation story of Go Joseon. According to the myth, Hwan Ung, the son of God, came down from the sky to what is now the Korean Peninsula and ruled the people. One day a bear and a tiger came to Hwan Ung and requested that he turn them in to humans. Hwan Ung gave them one bag of wormwood and twenty pieces of garlic, and said that they would turn into humans if they would live on wormwood and garlic in a cave without seeing the sun for 100 days. The tiger, after a few days, could not bear the life in the cave and ran away. After 100 days the bear turned into a woman. She was named Ung Nyeo. Like all woman she wanted to get married but nobody wanted to marry her. She prayed to God for a husband. Hwan Ung, hearing her prayers, turned into a human for a while and married her. She had a baby and the baby was named Dangun. Dangun founded Go Joseon and under the idea of Hongik Ingan, and ruled the country for 1500 years.

Why is Hongik Ingan important?
Hongik Ingan is the spirit of the Go Joseon and has been handed down for centuries. Hongik Ingan can be translated with the words, ‘for the benefit of the human world’ and has been the driving force of the Korean people. Still now after all those years, Dangun and his belief are of some importance to Koreans.

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