Gaecheonjeol: A Dive into Korea’s National Foundation Day!


Hey there, history enthusiasts and culture lovers! Have you ever heard about Gaecheonjeol?

Today, I will share to you what I know about Gaecheonjeol, Korea National Foundation Day, a celebration that holds a special place in the hearts of Koreans.

Let’s dig in!

Table of Contents

Origins of Gaecheonjol

Gaecheonjeol, often translated as “the day the heavens opened,” takes center stage on October 3rd each year in South Korea.

It’s more than just a date on the calendar – it marks the mythical founding of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, by the legendary Dangun Wanggeom.

The Myth Of Gaecheonjeol


Korean creation myth takes a trip back to the Gojoseon (고조선) period, way before Korea’s three kingdoms era. 

The story goes as following.

One day, Hwanung, the son of the Lord of Heaven wish to live on earth.

So Hwanin, His dad, let him and 3000 followers to build a city on Baekdusan

Afterwards, He descended to Baekdusan where He met a bear and tiger that request Him to turn them to a human.

Hwanung think about their request and give them task to spend 100 days living in a cave with garlic and mugwort.

The tiger quickly gave up after 20 days, but the bear successfully complete the task.

The bear ended up became a women, marry Hwanung and give birth to a son, Dangun.

Legend said that God-King Dangun (단군) laid the foundation for the first Korean kingdom in 2333 B.C.

The word Gaecheon which makes Gaecheonjeol meaning ‘opening of heaven‘, refers to Hwanin open the heaven to let Hwanung descend to Baekdusan.

Gaecheonjeol Traditions

Here are some ways Korean celebrate Gaecheonjeol 

1. Charye Ceremony


Families across Korea pay respects to their ancestors by setting up altars, offering food and wine, and engaging in rituals that honor their forebears.

It’s a time for reflection and connection to one’s roots.

2. Hanbok

modern hanbok

In case you don’t know, Hanbok is the traditional Korean clothing you can find almost near every grand palace of Korea.

3. National Flags and Symbols

korea symbol

Credit to wikipedia

Taegeukgi, South Korean flag proudly flutter in the wind throughout the country on National Foundation Day.

4. Fireworks and Parades

Pohang International Fireworks Festiv

Fast forward to modern South Korea, and Gaecheonjeol becomes a spectacle.

Parades, fireworks displays, and cultural performances bring communities together in a jubilant celebration of their shared history.

5. Hiking Adventures


Credit to wikipedia

For those seeking a different vibe, some opt for a hiking adventure.

While reaching Baekdu Mountain might be challenging, Halla Mountain on Jeju Island provides an alternative, offering a volcanic atmosphere akin to Baekdu Mountain.

Wrapping Up

National Foundation Day is not just a date; it’s a celebration that connects Koreans with their rich history and mythical beginnings.

Whether you’re joining the festivities or exploring the mountains, it’s a chance to immerse yourself in Korea’s cultural heritage.

So, history buffs, mark your calendars and get ready for a journey through myth and celebration on October 3rd!

How do you think about Gaecheonjeol?

Let me know in the comment sections below!


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