Seoul Metropolitan Government will hold a bell ringing event to commemorate the 66th Liberation Day at noon on August 15 at the Bosingak Belfry in Jongno-gu.
The event will be held under the theme “Global Top 5, Seoul” with the awareness of remembering the voices of glory from Korea’s liberation 66 years ago, and thus reestablishing the invincible spirit of the Korean people and using this to strengthen the nation.
Participating in the bell ringing event will be 12 people including Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, Hu Kwang-tai, Chairman of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, and Kim Yeong-jong, chief of Jongno-gu office, as well as Seoul citizens, who were chosen for this year’s event. They will form three groups of four members, and ring the bell 11 times each for a total of 33.
Beginning at 11:40 am prior to the bell ringing, Mapo ward’s choir will sing the chorus songs “Liberation Day Song,” “Gyeongbokgung Taryeong (traditional Korean ballad), “Beautiful Country,” and “New Baennorae (Ferry ride song).” Notably, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has prepared a program to allow 40 citizens recruited via the internet to take tours to historic sites, including introductory visits to some relics from the initial Korean government, commemorate Liberation Day, and pay respect to the noble spirits of patriots and independence fighters.
※ History of Bosingak bell ringing
The Joseon Dynasty would ring the Bosingak Bell to open en mass the four main gates (Sungnyemun (Gate), Heunginjimun (Gate), Sukjeongmun (Gate), and Donuimun (Gate)) and the four small gates (Hyehwamun (Gate), Sodeokmun (Gate), Gwanghuimun (Gate) and Changuimun (Gate)) in the capital city since early in the dynasty, or the fifth year of the King Taejo (1396). They would call the early morning bell ringing early “Paru” and the evening bell ringing “Injeong.”
Paru: bell ringing 33 times (early in the morning)
The bell is rung 33 times at around 4 am to lift the daily curfew, and signal the start of activities on any given day by opening the eight gates in the capital.
Ringing the bell 33 times derives from Buddhist tradition, in which Avalokitesvara (Gwan Yin) transformed into 33 skies of alter egos to save the common people, therefore the bell will be rung 33 times accordingly.
Injeong: bell ringing 28 times (evening)
The bell was rung 28 times at around 10 pm to announce curfew, causing the closure en masse of the gates in the capital. During ancient times, it was rung 28 times in line with the collective number of stars in all sections, based on the dividing of stars in the sky into four gungs (sections), namely east, west, south and north, and again splitting each gung into seven more.