19 August 2008

More Korean trivia

This time, it's the national symbols. According to trusty Wikipedia:
  • What is now South Korea's national anthem was probably penned by former Californian Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, whose name I mentioned in the last post. It was sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne for a long time, though today, its melody is the finale to a composition named Korea Fantasia. Wikipedia doesn't have an article on Korea Fantasia; however, I'll look for it on iTunes.
  • The national flower, Hibiscus syriacus, is extremely resilient, surviving for a long time even when cut and put in a vase. Its Korean name translates to "immortal flower." In English, its name is Rose of Sharon. I know I'll see tons of these once I land in Seoul.
  • The flag is made of Chinese yin-yang symbol and trigrams, though in Korean context, the meanings are secular rather than Taoist. Since the first use in the 1880s, many variants of the design have existed, and standardized design didn't pop up until much later. Colors weren't standardized until 1997. More on the flag (including complete specs and geometry) This flag will also be a familiar sight, as the South Koreans are as much of flag wavers as the French and the Americans.
I'll keep hunting for more trivia items.