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Story behind National Foundation Day of Korea Updated: 2014-10-02 22:02:09 KST


This Friday, Korea celebrates National Foundation Day, or Gaecheonjeol in Korean, which translates into the day the sky was opened.
The story behind the holiday dates back more than 4-thousand years, to a tale of Emperor Dangun.
It begins with Hwanung, the son of a god who lived in the heavens but wanted to live on Earth.
He descended and ruled over the people with the noble aim of benefiting mankind.
Then two animals, a bear and a tiger, came and begged Hwanung to let them become human.
Hwanung agreed to grant their wish, but only if they endured 100 days without exposure to sunlight, with only garlic and ssuk, a type of mugwort, as their diet.
The tiger gave up halfway through, but the bear persevered and became a woman.
She later bore Hwanung a son, who would be called Dangun.
Even to this day, Emperor Dangun is considered to be the founder of this nation, and his mixed ancestry of a bear and deity has become a symbol for national identity.

Various festivities will be held Friday and Saturday to celebrate National Foundation Day, meaning traffic restrictions will be in place for some areas.
On Friday, from midnight to four PM no cars will be allowed on the streets of Yeongdongdaero and Bongeunsaro near Samsung Station and COEX due to an international marathon event.
There's going to be a massive parade starting at around 11 a.m. on Friday, beginning at Sejongno Park and ending near Deoksugung Palace by Seoul City Hall Station.
The Seoul International Fireworks Festival will be held on Saturday, so automobiles will be restricted from accessing the southern part of Mapo Bridge and near the 63 Building near Yeouinaru station from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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