June 6 is Korea’s annual Memorial Day to honor the noble sacrifices of those who have fought for Korea. Korea has undergone a number of difficult times in its history, including the Korean War and the Japanese Colonial Period, and a huge number of people sacrificed themselves to protect Korea. To honor this spirit of sacrifice, this day was officially established as Memorial Day in 1975.
Every year, a commemoration event is held to celebrate Memorial Day at Seoul National Cemetery. Citizens, government officials, and students attend it. Also, at 10 a.m. on June 6, sirens ring all over the country, and people take a minute of silence to pray for those lost. People who don’t know about Memorial Day need to be aware of the siren noise because it might surprise them.
Likewise, we raise the Korean flag on Memorial Day, Hangul Day, Independent Day, New Year’s Day, etc. Unlike other days, however, Memorial Day is a “memorial day,” so the way of putting up the flag is not the same as other national holidays. On general national holidays, there is no gap between the quill and the surface. However, on certain days, including Memorial Day, it should be lowered to half-mast. It is a national flag for those who sacrificed their lives for Korea, so it is advisable to understand the method of raising the flag correctly.
Dano is one of Korea’s traditional holidays, including Seollal and Chuseok. It refers to the fifth day of the fifth month of the year according to the lunar calendar. Dano is known as a day when yang energy is the most strong and as a special day to pray for good harvest and a rich year after rice-planting.
Dano is a holiday that has a long history and various customs. One of the representative customs is for women to wash their hair in water boiled with Cheongpo plant. They believe that the smell from Cheongpo plant can ward off bad luck and treat diseases. They also believe that it can make their hair shiny. Old ancestors used to play traditional folk games such as swinging, archery, and Ssireum. Also, a custom to give fans to each other as a gift for the upcoming heat wave prevailed throughout the country. It originated from the king of the Joseon dynasty king who would give a fan to his civil servants. Nowadays, people are unfamiliar with traditional activities such as washing their hair with Cheongpo plant. However, Gangneung and Jeonju hold festivals to celebrate Dano every year, and lots of people still participate and enjoy it.