National Flag (Taegeukgi)
The Taegeukgi consists of a red and blue taegeuk pattern in the center with four black trigrams located at each corner against a white background. The Taegeukgi was first used as the national flag when the Korean Empire was proclaimed in 1897. Today, the pattern has somewhat changed from the flag used at that time.
Mainly designed around the taegeuk pattern that Koreans have long enjoyed using in their lives, the national flag represents the Korean people’s ideals of endless creation and prosperity in harmony with the universe. The white background symbolizes brightness, purity, and peace-loving ethnic characteristics. The taegeuk symbolizes harmony between yin (blue) and yang (red), which embodies the truth about Mother Nature: All things in the universe are created and evolved through the interaction between yin and yang.
The four trigrams indicate the mutual changes and development of yin and yang through the combinations of horizontal lines (yin: “” and yang: “). Among them, geongwae symbolizes the sky; gongwae the earth; gamgwae water; and rigwae fire. The four trigrams represent movement and harmony centered around the taegeuk.
National Flower (Mugunghwa)
The Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) is thought to be deeply associated with what are regarded as the most typical Korean characteristics: a sincere heart, inwardness, and tenacity. Around the late 9th century, the Chinese referred to Korea as “the country of mugunghwa.” The Korean word mugunghwa literally means a “never-withering flower.” The country’s national anthem includes the line: “Three thousand ri of splendid rivers and mountains covered with mugunghwa blossoms.” The emblem of the government and the National Assembly contains the shape of a mugunghwa.
National Anthem (Aegukga)
Aegukga, the national anthem of South Korea, was composed in 1935 by Mr. Ahn Eak-tai, who added a melody to the lyrics written in the early 1900s. Initially, the national anthem was sung to the tune of the Scottish folk song Auld Lang Syne. It was officially adopted with the establishment of the government of the Republic of Korea in August 1948.