Gather round, it's time to tell the story of Gaecheonjeol, one of the most important national holidays of Korea! On this day 4,344 years ago, the god Dangun descended from the heavens to live with mankind. The story of Dangun is told to Korean kids on this day, so it's time to get clued in!
Way before Dangun's birth, the god Hwanung came to live on earth on Baekdu mountain, where he built the city of Sinsi. Now this is where the story gets really Korean (read: amazing!). Not far from Sinsi, a bear and a tiger lived in a cave. Every day, they would visit Hwanung and beg him to make them human. Eventually, Hwanung relented and did what all gracious gods do: He told them that if they ate garlic and mugwort for 100 days and resided solely in their cave, out of the sunlight, they would become human.
The tiger totally messed up and was out of the game at 20 days. But the bear, alone in the cave, bided his time until the 100-day mark, when he turned into a beautiful woman. This woman, Woongnyu, returned to Sinsi where Hwanung took her as his wife. Together they had Dangun. And this kid ruled! He went on to found the first kingdom of Korea and even has a taekwon-do pattern (or series of moves) dedicated to him. Happy National Foundation Day, everyone!
Shop our designers from Korea, our featured country this year, here.