The statue of King Sejong
By Do Je-hae
Hangeul Day on Oct. 9 offers plenty of events to celebrate the invention of the Korean writing system 566 years ago.
The celebrations will take the form of exhibitions, performances, seminars and contests nationwide and in Korean language institutes abroad. Check the Weekender section for details on Hangeul Week, which begins today.
Hangeul has played a key role in spreading Korean culture and more people are showing interest in learning it around the world. Google has added Hangeul Day to the list of holidays and memorable dates that it honors with creative logos.
This month will be a landmark in the overseas teaching of Korean.
Korea will set up the King Sejong Institute at the end of this month. The institute will develop text books and train teachers for foundations around the world that teach Hangeul.
Meanwhile, the culture ministry is pushing to make Hangeul Day a national holiday.
A bill for this has been submitted to the National Assembly. Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties are known to have agreed on the issue.
It was excluded from the list of public holidays in 1990 on the grounds there were too many holidays. Hangeul Day regained its status as a national day of celebration in 2005, but is not a legal holiday.
Hangeul Day was formerly designated an official holiday in 1949, four years after Korea was liberated from Japanese rule.
Today, public sentiment is favorable toward making Hangeul Day a national holiday.
A recent poll by the culture ministry showed 83.6 percent of respondents support Hangeul Day being a holiday, higher than in previous surveys in 2009 when 68.8 percent supported the idea and 76.3 percent in 2011.