Constitution Day or Jeheonjeol is observed annually on July 17 in South Korea. It’s to commemorate the creation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. Constitution Day was declared a national holiday in 1949, but since 2008, it has no longer been a non-working day. Despite that, Constitution Day is still a national celebration day. There is a commemorative ceremony held at the National Assembly Building; citizens hang national flags; events like marathons are often held to commemorate South Korean Constitution Day.
History of Korean Constitution Day
Constitution Day or Jeheonjeol on July 17 was first declared a South Korean national holiday on October 1, 1949. Since 2008, South Korean Constitution Day has no longer been a non-working day due to the restructured law regarding working hours. Despite that, on Constitution Day, a commemorative ceremony is held at the National Assembly Building, Seoul, and attended by the President, Chairman of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and constituent assembly members. Besides, citizens hang national flags, and marathons, college student debates, or events related to law-making at elementary and middle schools are held.
The Korean peninsula was under the control of Japan from August 22, 1910, until the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. Then, the U.S.S.R. occupied the northern half of the peninsula, while the southern half was under the occupation of the U.S. In 1948, South Korea held its first democratic elections for National Assembly members, and the elected members created a national constitution. The constitution was ratified on July 12, 1948, and President Syngman Rhee proclaimed the Constitution of the Republic of Korea on July 17, 1948.
The first Republic of Korea was established on August 15, 1948, with Syngman Rhee as its first president. On September 9, 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was founded by Kim Il-sung. But, the Republic of Korea was officially recognized as the sole legal government of Korea by the United Nations General Assembly (U.N.G.A.) under Resolution 195 on December 12, 1948. Despite being the same people on the same peninsula, South Korea and North Korea are two different countries.
Korean Constitution Day timeline
The Constitution of the Republic of Korea is ratified.
President Syngman Rhee proclaims the Constitution of the Republic of Korea.
The first Republic of Korea is established.
Constitution Day or Jeheonjeol on July 17 is declared a national holiday.
Korean Constitution Day FAQs
What is Constitution Day in North Korea?
Constitution Day is a public holiday in North Korea, observed on December 27, commemorating the adoption of the current constitution on December 27, 1972.
What is the most important day in Korea?
The most important traditional holidays for Koreans are Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day). People visit their hometowns to celebrate these holidays with their families.
What is the name of the Korean flag?
The name of the Korean flag is ‘taegeukgi’, pronounced ‘teh-GUK-key.’
How to Observe Korean Constitution Day
Hang the flag
Hang the national flag to commemorate the proclamation of the South Korean constitution. That’s the least you can do to honor Constitution Day.
Participate in debate
There is typically a college student debate in observance of Constitution Day. If you are a student, you may want to participate in one.
Learn the history
Since it’s no longer a public holiday, you probably need to go to work. So, you can just read about the history again to commemorate South Korean Constitution Day.
5 Facts About South Korea You Need To Know
It has a strong drinking culture
Compared to its neighboring countries in Asia, South Korea has a strong drinking culture, where most holidays are celebrated with alcohol.
Plastic surgery is a normal thing
Teenagers in South Korea won’t have to worry about parental approval for plastic surgery because their parents commonly encourage it and even pay for it.
Asking about blood types is common
Just like in Japan, in South Korea, it’s common to ask about blood types because they are believed to contribute to one’s personality and characteristics.
A newborn is considered one year old
In South Korea, people are automatically one year old at birth, so when a baby is born, they are already a year old.
Credit card usage is high
South Korea is one of the places with the highest credit card usage, where most locations are set up to accept credit cards.
Why Korean Constitution Day is Important
The constitution is important because one of its roles is to protect individual freedom. Korean Constitution Day is for us to honor that.
As a reminder
Sometimes we forget to realize that a country’s independence is something for citizens to be grateful for. Korean Constitution Day can be a reminder for us to appreciate the freedom of one’s country.
To learn history
Korean Constitution Day is to commemorate a historical event. Most of us probably want to learn about the history of the day so that we can celebrate it consciously.
Korean Constitution Day dates