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Are we descendents of Dangun?
This year (2002) is the 4335th year since the founding of the Old Korea. For the first time since Korea was divided 57 years ago, the Foundation Day (°³ÃµÀý) was celebrated jointly by people from North, South, and overseas on October 3, 2002 in North Korea. Seoul will host a joint celebration of the Foundation Day next year.
Prof. Lee Dong Hee attended the ceremony as a member of the Korean Farmers Cultural Association ( ÇÑ±¹³ó¹Î¹®ÇÐÈ¸). During his stay in North Korea from October 1st to October 5th, he visited Dangun's burial chamber, the Samsung Temple (»ï¼º»ç) and other Dangun sites in North Korea.
Exactly one hundred South Korean were cleared by the Unification Ministry to attend the ceremony in North Korea. A North Korean plane picked them up at Inchon on October 1. About one hour later, they landed at Sunahn near Pyongyang and checked in at the Botong-gang Hotel. All expenses were paid by Pyongyang.
The Dangun Mausoleum was restored in 1994. The huge complex occupies about 450 acres on the slope of Mt. Daebaik. The complex is divided into three major sections: restoration work area, stone statue area and the burial site. Dangun's grave is shaped like a pyramid, about 22 m high and 50 m on each side.
The burial chamber is located inside this pyramid: a large Dangun portrait hangs by the entrance. The remains of Dangun and his wife are preserved in a glass case. Their bone fragments were collected and put together by the restorers after years of hard work.
The Foundation Day ceremony on October 3 was attended by a large number of North Korean students clad in the traditional attires - colorful chima-jogori. They were also celebrants from overseas. After the official notes and a traditional worship, a music and dance festival was held. The ceremony participants danced joyfully en mass. People from North, South and overseas freely commingled and celebrated the founding of the Korean nation.
Later that day, Dangun scholars from North and South presented academic papers on Dangun at the People's Palace of Culture. Yung Nae Han, head of the Dangun Research Institute in South Korea, and Huh Jong Ho, head of the Korean History Academy, were the principal speakers at this symposium. Until recently, the Dangun researchers from North and South had no way of sharing their research materials on Dangun, but they were unanimous in their conclusion that Dangun was a real person.
On October 4, the celebrants went to the Samsung Temple (ß²á¡Þæ ) on Mt. Guwol, Hwang-hae-do. This temple, which symbolizes the Korean nation, was burned by the Japanese in 1911. This burning was the very first move by the Japanese to erase all traces of Korea as an independent people.
The temple was rebuilt in 2001 and honors the memory of Dangun, his father (Hwan Woon), and his grandfather (Hwan Inn). Hence the name Samsung (ß²á¡) - the Three Saints.
The celebrants shared a dinner that night and socialized late into the night. Early in the following morning, the delegates from South Korea were flown back to Inchon in a North Korean plane.