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Facts about Korea & the Flag

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The Korean name for Korea is "Hangeuk" and its people  are called "Hangeuksaram."  The ancient name for Korea  is "Choson," which means literally, "the land of morning calm" and comes from the "Choson" (or "Yi") dynasty of Korea's history (1392 - 1910) during which westerners had their first contact with Korea.
 
The national anthem of Korea is "Aeguk Ka" ("Love  of Country").  It was written during the Japanese occupation of Korea (circa 1910 - 1945) and was later set to music by Ahn Eak Tai.

Click here for national anthem!

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"The Korean flag is called  Taeguk-ki" and was adopted in August of 1882, not long after the "Hermit Kingdom" opened its front and back doors to foreign aggressive powers.  The central theme of the flag is that although there is constant movement within the sphere of infinity, there is also balance and harmony.  The flag consists of three parts:  a white field (or background), a red and blue circle in the center of the flag (containing a "yin-yang" like symbol) and four black trigrams surrounding the circle in each of the four corners of the flag. 


    The circle in the center is called "Taeguk" and means the origin of all things in the universe. The red and blue paisleys within the circle represent eternal duality (heaven-earth, fire-water,  good-evil, male-female, dark-light, life-death).  The blue portion of the circle is called "Um" and presents the negative aspects of this duality; the red portion of the circle is called "Yang" and represents the positive aspects.  "Um-Yang" is the Korean equivalent of "Yin-Yang."


The four black trigrams come from the Chinese book of "I Ch'ing."  The trigrams also carry the idea of opposites and of balance.  Each trigram (or "gye") consists of three parallel lines, some of which are broke (split), and some of which are unbroken (solid).  Each gye has a specific name and represents one or more concept.


    In the upper left hand corner is "K'un" which consists of all solid lines and represents heaven, east  and spring.

  In the lower right hand corner is "K'on" which consists of all broken lines and represents earth, west and summer.

   In the upper right hand corner is "Kam" which consists of one solid line surrounded by two broken lines and represents water, north and winter.

   Finally in the lower left hand corner is "I" which consists of one broken line surrounded by two solid lines and represents fire, south and autumn.

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WHAT IS CHUSEOK?
 
ChuSeok is the Korean Thanksgiving festival set on the 15th day of the eighth lunar moon and it is one of the most important festivals in Korea.

ChuSeok is believed to have originated during the ancient Shilla Kingdom (around 500 AD), when a month-long weaving festival was held. For the contest, the king divided the city into teams and appointed princesses to lead them. The king announced the winner on the day of the eighth full moon and the losing team had to provide food, drink, and entertainment involving the whole city. Today there are no more contests, but it is a time to visit ancestral sites and pay homage to elders with food and drink.
 
To learn more about Chuseok, check out any of these websites:

MORE INTERESTING FACTS!

POPULATION

Republic of Korea is 44.6 million. Except for a small Chinese minority, the people are all ethnic Korean, making Korea one of the most homogeneous countries in the world.

LANGUAGE

Koreans all speak and write the same language, which has been a crucial factor in there strong national identity.

RELIGION

Confucianism permeates all aspects of Korean society. Over one quarter of the people follow the traditions of a folk religion called Shamanism. Close to 30 percent of the population is Christian. More than 15 percent practice Buddhism.

GENERAL ATTITUDES

There are many rituals of courtesy, formality in behavior, and customs regulating social relations. Hard work is something that is highly valued. Koreans are extremely modest when talking about themselves. They are reluctant to accept high honors and this is considered the mark of a true Korean gentleman; which means compliments are graciously denied. It seems that social contacts can make a large difference on being successful. Friendships are highly valued and so friends expect to rely on each other for just about anything.

Giving gifts as a way of earning favors is very common. It is especially commmon in the workplace. If you give a gift, a gift is expected in return. Conflicts in public are considered very serious. This may be damaging to anothers reputation and that is not taken lightly. Koreans may withhold bad news or adverse opinions as not to hurt the feelings of another. Koreans have a very high sense of pride in their country and it's accomplishments. Some of these accomplishments include Traditional Korean culture and the nation's modern economic success.