Every 9 October is Hangul Day, a national holiday in South Korea to celebrate the invention of Hangul and its adoption as the official alphabet of the Korean language by Korean monarch Sejong the Great of the Chosun dynasty in 1446.
Until the mid-fifteenth century, Koreans used Chinese characters to write. These characters are known as ‘Hanja’, and are still occasionally seen in Korea, particularly on calendars. As Korean is grammatically very different from Chinese, writing Korean using Hanja was an almost impossible task. As a result, only the elite in Korea were literate.
More than 500 years later, it is still considered a remarkable achievement, even by modern linguistic standards. The 24-letter alphabet remains the only writing system in the world that separates sentences into words, syllables, individual sounds, and elements of articulation like exhalation or voicing.
In 2009, in celebration of the 563rd anniversary, a 6.2-meter high, 20-ton bronze statue of King Sejong the Great at Gwanghwamun Plaza in Seoul, was unveiled to the public.