Samiljeol (March 1st Independence Movement Day)

Samiljeol, also known as Independence Movement Day, holds a special place in the hearts of the Korean people as it commemorates the nation’s spirited fight for freedom and sovereignty. Observed annually on March 1st, this significant day marks the beginning of the March 1st Movement in 1919, a pivotal event in Korean history that ignited a fervour for independence from Japanese colonial rule.

The March 1st Movement was a massive demonstration that saw millions of Koreans participating in peaceful rallies, demanding their right to self-governance and protesting the injustices imposed by the Japanese authorities. The movement was a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Korean people, as they courageously stood up against oppression despite the risks. The March First Movement is widely seen as a symbolic moment of the solidarity of Korea in opposing Japanese occupation until the eventual independence in 1945 and historians acknowledge the damage this very visible act of defiance had on Japanese colonial strategy.

The day is a public holiday in Korea, and cities hold many memorial events for those who participated in, and often sacrificed themselves, resisting occupation. Individuals often pay respect to family members involved in the movement, or in defending Korea’s autonomy in general.

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