National Foundation Day in Korea

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Wondering about National Foundation Day in Korea? Here is a quick overview of the holiday and what to expect.

About Myths Within Culture

All cultures have stories and myths that give us an inside look at how cultures views the world. These myths and stories have a great deal of value with the culture and allow insight into how different cultures perceived the world.

Members of some cultures may view myths as ‘lies’ and may dismiss myths as a childish aspect of another culture. However, myths occur across cultures and represent how collective psychology expresses itself in stories. Therefore, taking the time to learn about myths can bring a wider view of the world around us.

National Foundation Day (개천절 Gaecheonjeol), a Korean holiday, celebrates the historical foundation of Korea and the cultural myth tied to the day. Obviously, Koreans understand the difference between myth and reality. They also understand the value of myth within their culture and continue to honor the National Foundation Day myth.

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About National Foundation Day

National Foundation Day (개천절 Gaecheonjeol) is a ‘red day’ or public holiday on the Korean calendar. A ‘red day’ means that salaried employees have a paid day off for National Foundation Day, a Korean public holiday celebrated on October 3.

Gaecheonjeol is a literal translation of “the day on which Heaven opens.” This holiday celebrates Korea’s birth, specifically the legend regarding the creation of the state of Gojoseon in 2333 BC.

This holiday was an unofficial harvest festival prior to 1909 when it became a national holiday. It has been fixed on October 3 since 1949. There are often festivals and parades, and people burn sandalwood incense to give thanks and perform ancestral rites.

Learn About the Foundation Myth

Learn more about Korean history, creative expression, storytelling, and National Foundation Day by watching the videos embedded below.


Celebrating National Foundation Day

On National Foundation Day in Korea, an official ceremony is held at the Sejong Performing Arts Center and a special observance is held at Dangun’s mausoleum. In addition, observances are held at the shrines of Dangun across South Korea.

Also, there are huge fireworks displays for the celebration. In Seoul, it is very popular to head to the Yeouido Han River Park to watch the fireworks. You may also get a fabulous view from the top of Namsan Tower.

Additionally, when Foundation Day creates a 3-day weekend, many families will celebrate by camping and hiking. The weather is perfect this time of year for outdoor activities. Also, many camp sites book out far in advance. Check out this fabulous camping blog for more information on camping in Korea.

Potential Inconveniences on National Foundation Day

Obviously, any of the following inconveniences may or may not occur depending on where you live in South Korea and the current social climate. However, the awareness that the following issues may occur may allow you to better plan ahead and avoid stress:

  • If you don’t like kids consider spending time at home. Suddenly, kids appear in every part of your life at a time when they ‘should’ be in school. This would be a great time to stay home and catch up on your favorite TV shows or read a book.
  • Expect bad traffic. Families travel all over the place for events and fun activities during this holiday. Don’t expect to get anywhere fast.
  • Expect hectic parking. Holidays usually mean circling the parking lot or neighborhood a few times before you find a place. Give yourself extra time if you need to go somewhere.
  • Expect booking travel to be harder. When Foundation Day falls near a weekend booking travel and traffic that weekend may be hectic. Families will be booking all the hotels, camp sites and doing all the activities.

How to Source Additional Information About Locations

If you have questions about things like business hours, you can use the free foreigner support app/phone number 1330. In addition, using apps like Naver can help you navigate with expected traffic times