Korea Independence Day

Korea Independence Day Quick Facts

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2023 DateAugust 15, 2023
2024 DateAugust 15, 2024

Korea Independence Day

Korea Independence Day, also known as National Liberation Day of Korea, is a significant annual observance that marks the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from 35 years of Japanese colonial rule on August 15, 1945. The day is traditionally known as "Gwangbokjeol," meaning "the day the light returned," reflecting the joy and hope that came with liberation.

The holiday was officially designated in 1949 by South Korea following the end of World War II and the division of the peninsula into two separate nations, with North Korea also celebrating on the same date. Although the day was initially celebrated with anti-Japanese sentiments, the contemporary focus is on recognizing the shared history, heritage, and resilience of the Korean people against colonialism. The freedom fighters and their efforts are commemorated, and ceremonies are performed to celebrate the end of Japanese rule.

The typical celebratory activities include parades, fireworks, traditional performances, and singing the well-known independence song, "Arirang". The South Korean government also grants special pardons, restores the honor of individuals treated as war criminals by the Japanese, and presents awards on this day. Public buildings and homes are adorned with the national flag, known as the Taegukgi. The observance of this crucial day of independence takes place every year on August 15th in both South and North Korea.

Top Tweets for Korea Independence Day


Korea Independence Day facts

  • Differences in the Korean language have developed due to the decades South and North Korea have spent separated. The two standard varieties are the Seoul dialect in South Korea and the Phyong'yang dialect in North Korea. One difference is that words borrowed from other languages, like English, are less common in North Korea. Also, the same words have developed different interpretations throughout the years. For example, agassi is "a young lady who is not yet married" in South Korea, but it's "a woman who works at bars or clubs" in North Korea.
  • UNESCO recognizes gimjang, the making and sharing of kimchi in South and North Korea, as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of cabbage.
  • The real-time strategy video game StarCraft (1998), and particularly its expansion pack, StarCraft: Brood War (1998), became a huge cultural phenomenon in South Korea. Players competed for prize money in front of large crowds. Matches were broadcast on TV and the players became celebrities and earned sponsorships. The game is still played professionally to this day, as well as its sequel, StarCraft II.
  • Tigers used to live in Korea but they are now extinct. Nevertheless, they remain an important cultural symbol.
  • The Korean Crevice Salamander is a lungless amphibian that lives only in Korea.

Top things to do for Korean Independance Day

  • Prepare kimchi, a traditional dish in South and North Korea. For ingredients and directions, go here.
  • If you like video games, try the free-to-play StarCraft and its expansion pack StarCraft: Broodwar. StarCraft became a cultural phenomenon in South Korea. Since the release of a remastered version, the original versions are free. There's also StarCraft II.
  • Some highly rated South Korean movies are Oldboy (2003), The Handmaiden (2016), Memories of Murder (2003) and Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004).

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