Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Children's Day 어린이날

It's almost that time of year again where kids flock the streets and celebrations bring the little ones together.  May 5th in Korea is a national holiday known as Children's Day.  (어린이날) It is a day to celebrate the people of Korea's future. Parents adorn their kids with gifts and fun activities.

Korea's Children's Day was founded by Pang Chung-Hwan, a children's author, in 1923 as a way to show love, care, and respect to children. In a culture where parents and elders command respect, Pang thought children deserved the same respect and dignity. By instilling a sense of independence and pride in the children at a young age, they would be better able to serve their nation in the future. For children are the future of a nation.  If they grow up with respect and pride they will be able to exude that same respect and pride for their nation as they grow older.  

This day is also a great day to honor parents that have raised good kids and an excuse for the family to come together and have fun. Amusement parks, national parks, and zoos are open for lots of family fun.

Last year I visited Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan for some Children's Day events. This year I'm in America a little ways away from the action, but I recommend that expatriates in Korea find local parks or recreation centers and check out some of the events. You may get some ice cream and a free balloon. If nothing else, you can remember your childhood and have a little fun living vicariously through your students or children's adventures. Nevertheless, it is a great learning experience.

Even Hilary Clinton on behalf of the United States is wishing Korea a Happy Children's Day.  She stated that there is a lot of promise in the future of Korea through Korean's children.

If you are in Busan you could always head to this Children's Day event at Busan's Natural History Museum . There will be lots of fun activities including balloon art and a magic show. Later in the day you could head to the beach and enjoy some lovely Spring weather!

Happy Children's Day Korea!

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