Today’s article I am writing as a Korean translator is Dangun myth – a famous Korean myth. We, as a Korean translation company, have a deep insight into Korean culture and their way of thinking. To understand Korean culture and how it affects how Korean think, it is helpful to know its cultural background.
Once there was a divine prince named Hwanung, who was the son of Hwanin, the God of the Heavens. Hwanung wanted to help mankind, and asked his father to grant him the Korean Peninsula to govern.
Hwanin granted his wish, and Hwanung was sent to Earth with three thousand followers.Hwanung appeared near a divine sandal wood tree on the slopes of Mt.Taebaeksan. He took the title of Cheon-wang, or Heavenly King, and established Sinsi, the City of God. He appointed three ministers to be in charge of wind, rain, and the clouds, and taught the people 360 useful arts including agriculture, medicine, carpentry, weaving and fishing.
He also taught them what was good and what was evil, and set up a code of law.In those days, there was a bear and a tiger living in a big cave near the sandal wood tree where Hwanung became human, and everyday they went to the sacred sandal wood tree to pray to Hwanung to make them human. Eventually, the Heavenly King was moved by their prayers. He called them to him and gave them twenty bulbs of garlic and a divine spray of mugwort, and said, “Eat these, and do not seek the light of day for one hundred days. If you do this, you will become human.”
The bear and the tiger ate the garlic and mugwort and went back to their cave. The tiger was too impatient to survive this ordeal and left after a short while. Meanwhile, the bear patiently waited and after only twentyone days, she became a beautiful woman. She became known as Ungnyeo.
The woman was overjoyed, but she could find no one to marry her, so she visited the sandal wood tree again and prayed that she might be blessed with a child. Hwanung again took pity on her, and temporarily transformed himself into a human. She conceived, and gave birth to a son, who was called Dangun.He became the first human king of the Peninsula. He established his capital at Pyongyang and he gave his kingdom the name Joseon.
Later, he moved his capital to Asadal on Mt. Taebaeksan and ruled for 1,500 years. After that, he abdicated and became a mountain god.
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