Ups and Downs of the 78 Stairs: The Love & Hate Relationship
Ups and Downs of the 78 Stairs: The Love & Hate Relationship
  • Reporter Lee Suh-young
  • 승인 2011.12.07 23:14
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▲ The 78 Stairs covered after a snowy day.

One good thing about being a Postechian is you do not need to worry about leg exercises, unless you are too tired to go to class after the overnight lan party at the dorm. Here are fun facts about the 78 Stairs.

The origin of the name

There is a famous rumor concerning the meaning of the name. As the proverb goes, many believe that the origin of the name of the 78 Stairs comes from the Korean proverb ‘For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.’ Here is the fact. The 13 meters high 78 Stairs consists of seven staircases with 78 steps in total.

The legend

According to the legend of the 78 Stairs, those who slip and tumble down the stairs will not graduate within four years. Believe it or not, there is a student who entered the university in 2001 and graduated from the university in 2010. “When I was a freshman, I lost my balance and toppled over in front of the 78 Stairs on the day before the field trip with freshman friends.” Although he did not literally tumble down the stairs, he was unable to get away from the legend- he became the last person who graduated from the university among his friends.

The backdrop banner using placard

The 78 Stairs are often the stage of festivals. By cutting a placard and attaching it onto each of the steps, the 78 Stairs change into the unique mosaiced backdrop banner. The beginning of using a placard as the backdrop banner was not so old.“Here were sometimes when rain ruined the elaborated backdrop banner. So we decided to use placard instead of colored paper,” said Shim Chi-hyun (Phys 06) “Without a doubt, it rained at Sunrise spring festival of 2008, but we didn’t worry. The rain made it available to attach the banner onto the steps more strongly.” In addition to placard-banners of freshman orientations and student festivals, the traditional paper-made 78 banners are still in use. According to the 78 banner guru, Cho Seong-jin (ME Ph.D candidate), the procedure of designing the 78 banner starts with conceiving a 78x80 table. “The tip of making 78 banners is preparing bright colored paper when you are using the ash-colored granitic steps as your background.”

The horrible story

The most horrible story related to the 78 Stairs might be descending the 78 stairs on car. During the 1989 Spring Festival, a drunken driver went down the 13 meter high stairway without noticing there were actual stairs. Fortunately, nobody was injured except for a few broken granitic steps. A few years later, in 1996, banisters were added at the middle and both sides of the stairs because some older professors were having difficulties with the stairs.

▲ Students celebrate their graduation at the 78 Stairs.

The graduation photo shoots

During the first few years, it was tradition to take graduation photos, gathering together by the shape of the starting year at the 78 Stairs. Although this tradition was coming to end after the banister was added at the middle of stairs, one can still find pictures of this tradition on the last page of year books.

▲ The 78 Stairs sometimes provides a romantic place for a marriage proposal.

78 marriage proposal

Romantic as it is, there are occasions of marriage proposals at the 78 Stairs. The most recent marriage successor was Jo Min-ho (GIFT). “I wanted to hold an unforgettable event for her. As far as I am concerned, the 78 Stairs is one of the most memorable places and perfect for swearing my love to her.” Due to the rainy season, he was required to prepare more than 50 kg of thick paper. More than ten of his Alternative Technology Laboratory (ATL) partners, even some are doctors, helped to make the 78 banner. “I am so appreciative to them who were willing to help me out despite the mosquitos’ attack at hot summer night.”