Today, both Koreas celebrated Foundation Day, an official holiday. In korean, the day is called Gae-cheon-jeol (gae = open, cheon = sky/heaven, jeol = day) meaning The Day Sky Opened. Here is a rather humorous outsider's explanation of the day:
[On October 3rd, 2333BC,] A sky god came to earth and set up shop in North Korea (yeah) [actually, I think it was Baekdu Moutain which seems like a great place for splash landing]. He impregnated a bear (which he conveniently changed to a woman before knocking it up — this point conveniently keeps Korea just one hair away from having the distinction of being the only nation born not in revolution, not in sober diplomatic discourse, but in bestiality). The bear woman squeezed out a kid called Tangun who became Korea's first king and ruled for 1,908 years and then went into retirement as a mountain god.
p dir=”ltr”>Actually the bear-woman story is more involving:
A tiger and a bear living in a cave prayed to Hwanung that they may become human. Upon hearing their prayers, Hwanung gave them 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort, ordering them to only eat this sacred food and remain out of the sunlight for 100 days. The tiger gave up roughly after twenty days and left the cave. However, the bear remained and was transformed into a woman. – from Wikipedia on Dangun.
So a powerful alien splash landed into a volcano over 4,339 years ago and genetically modified a female bear to bear its child who lived for 1,908 years and someone was meticulous enough to write down the date it all started. Hmm.
It's an odd yet wonderful myth but I wonder what happened to the tiger in the love triangle of sort…