South Korea Constitution Day

South Korea Constitution Day

June 17
Constitution Day, July 17, is observed as a national holiday in South Korea on the anniversary of the date that the country's constitution was declared in 1948. It was declared a public holiday in October 1948. Apart from the display of flags in public places, citizens and officials do little to formally celebrate the occasion, although events such as marathons are often held on the day. Following a restructuring of the South Korean public sector work force to adhere to a 40-hour work week, Constitution Day will no longer be a free day for workers as of 2008; however, it still will be observed as a day of commemoration.
The entire Korean peninsula (i.e., present-day North and South Korea) was under the control of Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, the U.S.S.R. took control of the northern half of the peninsula, while the southern half came under control of the United States. Despite attempts to unify the two regions, by 1948 it was clear that their sharp political differences made reunification impossible. South Korea held its first democratic elections and selected members for the National Assembly before the national constitution was proclaimed on July 17. On August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in the south with Syngman Rhee as the first President. Less than a month later, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, under the leadership of then-Premier Kim Il-Sung, was founded in the North.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United States of America
2450 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
202-939-5600; fax: 202-342-1597
www.dynamic-korea.com
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