Today is Hangul Day in South Korea. Hangul is the Korean alphabet, and Koreans celebrate its conception every year on October 9th. The alphabet was created during the Joseon Dynasty, around 1446. Prior to Hangul, Koreans would use Chinese characters ( 한자 ) to write out their language. However, Chinese characters were too complicated and detailed for the uneducated to use, so Sejong the Great, the king of Korea at the time, set out to create an alphabet that was simple to learn and use. And thus, Hangul was born.
I admit that learning Korean is very challenging, particularly for a native English speaker such as myself. Our grammar and sentence structure are vastly different. Pronunciation and phonetics, too, are completely different. Yet, learning the Korean alphabet is a breeze. One could learn how to read it within a few hours of study and practice.
The photo up above is an old one. I shot it about 3 years back with a Lomo LC-A on some expired color negative 35mm film. It was taken in Anseong, South Korea, and the old comic books were being used to cover up a glass window – I’m not sure whether this was done for blocking out daylight or keeping the old building insulated. Either way, I was drawn to the bold graphic look of the images and text. Since today is Hangul Day, I thought it’d be a good image to share.
Hangul Day is actually a national holiday in Korea. The banks, schools, post offices, and so forth are closed. I haven’t heard about any other countries celebrating their alphabets or languages in this manner. How about your country? Are there any holidays like Hangul Day where you come from? I’d like to hear about it!