Skyscrapers, bridges and other landmarks in South Korea’s capital will be lit up in purple on Monday as the country begins celebrating the 10th anniversary of K-pop band BTS, whose global popularity is a source of national pride.
The lights will provide the backdrop for various social media-driven events marking the 2013 debut of the seven-member group, which is now taking a hiatus as its singers begin to serve their mandatory military duties.
From Monday evening, numerous Seoul structures, including City Hall, the 123-story Lotte World Tower, several Han River bridges, and the futuristic DDP – a Zaha Hadid-designed aluminum and concrete dome that’s often used for visual art – will be bathed in purple, a color associated with BTS, according to city officials and the group’s management company, Hybe.
Messages congratulating BTS were displayed on digital screens in buildings across Seoul, while postal authorities issued stamps marking the group’s anniversary, which will be available at post offices starting Tuesday.
The landmark Namsan Seoul Tower is illuminated in purple to celebrate the 10th debut anniversary of K-pop megastars BTS in Seoul on June 12, 2023. (Photo by Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images)
Seoul officials hope that the celebrations, which will continue for around two weeks, will boost tourism. The city has designated more than a dozen sites associated with BTS, including places where the group held major performances or shot some of their famous videos.
Fireworks are planned at a park near the Han River on Saturday night, hours after one of the BTS singers, RM, holds a live talk with fans that will be broadcast online.
Quickly garnering huge followings in Asia following their debut, BTS' popularity expanded across the globe with their 2020 megahit "Dynamite," the band’s first all-English song that made it the first K-pop act to top Billboard’s Hot 100. BTS has since performed in sold-out arenas around the world and was invited to speak at United Nations meetings, supported by a legion of global followers who call themselves the "Army."
BTS perform onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp)
BTS’ activities as a full group are currently on hold as the artists begin to serve in the military. Two BTS singers – Jin and J-Hope – have already started their compulsory 18-month service and other members are to follow in coming months, which likely means the group will reconvene around 2025.
In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve in uniform 18-21 months under a system meant to deter aggression from rival North Korea.