Posted on October 9, 2013
Some kids in Korea don't have classes today...
...But they still go to school – to participate in calligraphy contests! Even adults often compete today, Alphabet Day, a day to celebrate the Korean alphabet!
On this date in 1446, King Sejong the Great issued a proclamation to his kingdom, establishing a new alphabet that his linguists had created.
Apparently, many of the literary elite didn't like this idea. I suppose they felt threatened by the concept that everyone would be able to read and write, and so they would no longer be special. But Hangul did take off in popularity, being used especially by women and writers of popular fiction.
Since that early, rocky start, the Korean alphabet has waxed and waned in both popular use and governmental approval. In other words, it was “in,” and then it was “out,” in and out.
During the 1600's revival of Hangul, literature flourished. When Koreans were striving to be an independent nation, use of Hangul became a matter of national pride. When Japan colonized Korea in the early 1900s, Hangul and even the Korean language itself were at times banned from schools and official events. When Korea became independent in 1946, an official modern Hangul alphabet was published.
Nowadays most people use Hangul or mixed Hangul, and hanja is becoming more rare.
Also on this date:
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