Priyanka Padala, Hyderabad, Telangana
Cute little smiles, innocent looks, and souls full of energy. Children are indeed one of the most precious creations of God. Their charm is sure to mesmerize even the rudest heart. If you ever had a tough day and then came across a child’s smile, you would know the magic of that curve. I believe they have this innate power which can heal anyone. No wonder they are celebrated around the world.
Just as various nations have a designated day to celebrate their youngest inhabitants, South Korea does this on 5th of May every year. In Korea, it is a public holiday so that the parents can spend quality time with their children. Due to the overtime work during the day or work on weekends, parents often don’t have much time to dedicate to their offsprings. Hence, Children’s Day or eorini nal as called in Korean, gives a perfect occasion for the family to come together and have fun. It also indicates children’s dignity and serves as a reminder that they too deserve to be loved, cared for and respected. On this day, children of all age groups are celebrated throughout South Korea.
The celebrations date back to the year 1923 when it was conceived by a group of Korean students, Saekdong-hoe, with an aim to promote and improve the social status of children. They observed the first Children’s Day on the 1st of May which was later moved to the 7th of May. Bang Jeong-hwan, pioneer of Korean juvenile literature and children’s rights activist, coined the modern term ‘eorini’ meaning children. He was also a co-founder of Saekdong-hoe and threw light on the fundamental human rights of children. After South Korea was colonized by Japan, the Japanese colonial government felt such a celebration would pose a threat to them. They saw it as a nationalist movement for independence by Korean activists. Hence Children’s Day celebration was oppressed since 1939. But post-independence in 1945, it was resumed. Later in 1961, according to the children’s welfare law, it was officially designated on the 5th of May as it overlapped with Labor Day on the 1st of May. It became a public holiday in 1970. An interesting fact is that it was known as Boy’s Day until 1975 which was renamed afterward.
As it falls in May, the pleasant weather is just perfect for outdoor activities. Since the weather is not too hot and humid, it welcomes everyone to leave their homes and venture out. Amusement parks, zoos, and picnic spots brim with life with parents and children on this day. Two of the most popular amusement parks are Lotte World at Jamsil subway station and Everland in Yongin. Everland is the largest theme park in Korea with attractions that captivates every child’s heart. Seoul Land in Gwacheon is yet another amusement park where children have a fun time. Also, many children love to visit the animals and as a result, the zoos are also jam-packed with people on Children’s Day. There are numerous zoos in South Korea which include Seoul Grand Park and Children’s Grand Park. The Han River has always been a go-to place for the Koreans. Picnicking along the Han River is yet another activity followed by the citizens on this day. Setting up tents to enjoy snacks, flying kites and riding bikes indeed bring the families together.
We can also see the children playing traditional games like yut. Taekwondo demonstrations are also a part of Children’s Day activities. Parents express their love towards their children by giving them their favorite presents. What’s exciting is that children even receive gifts from the stores they visit on this day. Parades and public activities are also common in some cities.
These were just a few to name. From going on treks to lazing and chatting at home, parents and children do all that fosters closeness and love among them. At the end of the day that’s what counts. There’s a lot that even we enjoyed doing in our childhood on Children’s Day. Feeling nostalgic? Share your most memorable Children’s Day in the comments section.