October 9, 2021 marks the 575th anniversary of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. Hangeul Day was designated to celebrate King Sejong’s promulgation of Hunminjeongeum, a document describing an entirely new and native script for the Korean language which would later become present-day Hangeul, and to promote the study and dissemination of Hangeul. Hangeul Day is the world’s only commemorative day marking the invention of letters.
Hangeul Day originally dates back to Gagya Day, which was created on Nov. 4, 1926, the 480th anniversary of Hunminjeongeum, meaning “The Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People.” At the time, the term “Hangeul” had not yet been generalized. “Gagya” derives from “Gagya Geogyeo,” a mnemonic device for learning Hangeul.
Hangeul was not spontaneously generated, but invented by a team of scholars led by King Sejong. The excellence of this scientific and logical alphabet system is recognized across the world. Hangeul Day is a day to celebrate the invention and promulgation of Hangeul as well as commemorate the excellence of Hangeul.
Designated as UNESCO World Heritage, Hangeul is also a scientific and logical writing system. Approximately 11,000 pronunciations can be transcribed using only 40 consonants and vowels. As such, Hangeul has contributed to the extremely low illiteracy rate in Korea.
Hangeul Day is a day to honor the people who invented and protected Hangeul out of love for the country and to celebrate the beauty of Hangeul, which is regretfully overlooked and taken for granted in modern times.