Korea's National Foundation Day

3 October 2007

South Korea commemorates its independence from Japan on two separate holidays, on both 1 March and 15 August. These two national holidays honour more recent milestones in Korea's coloured history. National Foundation Day celebrates the Big One: its creation. Korea was founded in 2333 BC by Dangun, a “legendary god-king” according to my guidebooks. Appropriately, this holiday is sometimes called “Dangun Day”. On 3 October, a big celebration is held on Mount Manisan in Ganghwado Province.

I, however, missed the ceremony to volunteer at a baby-home (orphanage) with a friend from work. We were there the week before, during the Chuseok holidays, and the little ones were just too cute to forget about. After just one visit, there were already a few I had fallen for. To celebrate the national holiday, the baby-home had plenty of other visitors and even a magician to entertain the children (and the volunteers). After a few hours, it seemed as though the volunteers outnumbered the children! Even though most Koreans aren’t interested in adoption, I know these children certainly are loved by many.