JAY SEO WRITES – In South Korea, March 1 is Independence Movement Day, a national holiday commemorating the thousands of brave revolutionaries who in 1919 dared defy Japanese military rule.

Independence Movement Day is also known as Samiljeol, the meaning of which is three-part: sam means “three” while il means “one” and jeol means “festival day.” Therefore, the word literally translates to “3/1 day.”

Independence Movement Day was acknowledged as a national holiday in 1949 as a day to remember the public’s resistance to Japanese military rule at the March First Movement.

On that day in 1919 in Seoul, a group of students recited the South Korean Declaration of Independence at a peace protest, demanding independence for the Korean people. In response to this peaceful protest, the Japanese military killed 7,500 people and injured 16,000 more.

To remember the public’s resistance to Japanese military rule and those who died fighting for Korean freedom, Koreans have celebrated Samiljeol every year since March 1919. In Bosingak, Seoul, there is a ceremonial ringing of the bell to remember the activists, a ritual that was established in 1953. There are different kinds of events and ritual celebrations that occur on Independence Movement Day. Even Koreans who live in different countries participate in this celebration by gathering in churches or other important places. Across the country, one can hear chants of “Daehan doknip manse!” or “Hurray, Korean Independence!”

To celebrate this day, Koreans, both at home and abroad, put Taegeukgi, the flag of South Korea, in their homes, businesses and streets. So, how about printing Taegeukgi below and putting it in your desk to celebrate this joyful day?

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