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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in South Korea Series on KoreanClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Korean holidays and observances. I’m Brandon, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 22: Constitution Day.
Do you follow the law well? Laws are rules that people abide by so that they can live together peacefully, right? In 1948, South Korea created its first constitution, and to celebrate its promulgation, July 17th was named Constitution Day or 제헌절(jeheon-jeol). In this lesson, we’ll learn about special events held on Constitution Day and the meaning of the day.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: how many members serve in Korea’s legislative body, the National Assembly or 국회(guk-hoe)?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Constitution Day events in Korea promote the law. For example, events are held at the National Assembly Building, where Korean laws are passed, in the island called 여의도(Yeouido), Seoul. On the morning of Constitution Day, a celebration is held in front of the building. What should you do to participate in this event with 국회의원 (guk-heo-ui-won) or members of the National Assembly? Just as everyone is equal under the law, anyone can apply online to participate in this event without any special requirements.
Another special event is held there, and it’s the Korean College Student Debate. In Korean, it’s called 대한민국 대학생 토론대회 (daehanminguk dae-haksaeng toron-daehoe.) Students hold a heated debate on controversial topics, such as the release of sex offenders' private information and the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Elementary and middle schools also hold numerous events related to law-making. One of them is a mock legal court or in Korean, 모의 법정 (mo-i beopjeong) for children. Students pretend to be a judge or lawyer, and learn how the law and daily life are related in a court-like atmosphere. They address legal issues related to children, such as school violence.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that since 2008, Constitution Day has been excluded from the list of public holidays? After the five-day work week was implemented, it remained a national holiday, but companies and schools don’t close for the holiday anymore.
Now, it’s time to answer our quiz question: how many members are in the National Assembly? Currently, the South Korean National Assembly has two hundred ninety-nine members. Unlike the United States, it’s a unicameral assembly, meaning that it’s only one house—it’s not divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. All members are elected for five-year terms.
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn a lot?
In your country, is there a holiday related to the law?
Please leave us a comment at KoreanClass101.com.
And we'll see you next time!