The Korean flag is called "Taegeukgi" in Korean. Its design symbolizes the
principles of the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle
in the center of the Korean flag is divided into two equal parts. The
upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of
the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the
responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces together
embody the concepts of continual movement, balance and harmony
that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded
by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes
one of the four universal elements: heaven (), earth
and water ().
The national flower of Korea is the mugunghwa, rose of sharon.
Every year from July to October, a profusion of mugunghwa blossoms
graces the entire country. Unlike most flowers, the mugunghwa is
remarkably tenacious and able to withstand both blight and insects.
The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word
mugung, meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the
enduring nature of Korean culture, and the determination and
perseverance of the Korean people.
Our national anthem is "Aegukga," which means "Love the
Country." In 1896, the Dongnip Sinmun (Independence News) published
various versions of lyrics for this song. It is not known exactly
what music they were sung to in the early days. Records show
that a Western-style military band was formed during the time
of the Dae-han Empire (1897-1910) and that the "Dae-han Empire
Aegukga" was composed in 1902 and played at important national
The original words of Aegukga appeared in written form around
1907 to inculcate allegiance to the nation and foster the spirit
of independence as the country faced threats of foreign annexation.
Over the years, the lyrics went through several versions
until they were adopted as the national anthem in the present
form in 1948.
Before the birth of the Republic in 1948, the words were often
sung to the tune of the Scottish folk song, Auld Lang Syne.
Maestro Ahn Eak-tay (1905-1965), then living in Spain, felt
that it was inappropriate to sing this patriotic song to the
tune of another country's folk song. So, he composed new music
to go with the lyrics in 1935, and the Korean Provisional Government
in exile adopted it as the national anthem. While Koreans outside
the country sang the anthem to the new tune, those at home continued
to use Auld Lang Syne until Korea was liberated in 1945.
In 1948 the government of the Republic of Korea officially adopted
the new version as the national anthem and began to use it at
all schools and official functions.