Last month, we celebrated BTS’ 10th birthday. This coming week (July 9) we’re celebrating another special event – ARMYs’ birthday! To celebrate BTS ARMY birthday, let’s learn more about this special fanbase and their connection to BTS.
Who Is ARMY?
ARMY have been with BTS almost from the beginning. The fandom started on July 9, 2013, a month after the band’s debut. The name stands for “Adorable Representative MC for Youth” and refers to BTS’ meaning, “Bangtan Sonyeondan” (Bulletproof Boy Scouts). BTS is the armour for ARMY, and the name shows the bond between the group and their fans (who were almost called “The Bells”!)
Image Credits: BigHit Entertainment via allkpop
Since their early days, BTS have always maintained a close relationship with ARMY, through tweets, livestreams, and in-person events. Despite some struggles (including one heartbreaking meeting where only 32 fans showed up), they built up a loyal fanbase that is still growing. ARMYs are attracted to BTS thanks to relatable lyrics on universal topics (such as self-love and the hardships of growing up), as well as the members’ own talent and caring personalities that they present to each other and their fans.
Image Credits: Make a Wish Korea via Twitter
BTS never take ARMY for granted. They’re always excited to meet fans at concerts and fan meetings, something that made the COVID-19 pandemic especially difficult. The members also appreciate ARMYs’ letters and fan projects. In return, ARMYs channel their energy into streaming BTS albums and videos and supporting the group in other ways.
Image Credits: BigHit Entertainment via Soompi
While some ARMYs are toxic and pick fights with other groups, most are welcoming and friendly to other fandoms. They follow BTS’ example by empowering others and themselves. Connected through their shared love for the artists, ARMY is both one of the biggest fanbases and one of the strongest.
How Does BTS Interact with ARMY?
We’ve talked about how grateful BTS are to ARMY and how happy they are to see and hear from them. Let’s look at specific ways the artists have shown their love for their fans:
Image Credits: BTS via Twitter
In an age where emails and texts are the norm, writing a letter the old-fashioned way has become extra special. On special occasions such as members’ birthdays and FESTA, BTS write letters and postcards to ARMYs to show their gratitude and give words of advice and encouragement. It’s a sweet and intimate gesture, especially since you get to see the messages in the members’ own handwriting.
Fan Meetings and Events
Image Credits: Image via Lucky Clover on Pinterest
We’ve touched on how BTS and ARMYs love the chance to meet each other. Whether it’s up close and personal at fan signs or from up onstage, BTS can share their thoughts and feelings while looking at ARMYs’ lovely faces. Even with the challenges of COVID-19, they were able to interact with fans through online concerts. These events provide a boost of energy to fans, but they also motivate BTS to become better artists and role models.
Surprise Videos and Livestreams
ARMYs still fondly remember when V Live was around. Sometimes one or more of BTS’ members would unexpectedly start a video on the app: answering fan questions; listening and reacting to song recommendations; or doing a fun activity such as cooking, eating, or making crafts. Similarly, sometimes the artists would drop songs dedicated to ARMY. These videos contained heart-warming, funny, and otherwise memorable moments that ARMYs look back on fondly today.
Besides using music to address social issues, BTS are famous for giving to those in need. Following horrific events like the Sewol Ferry Disaster, BTS donated funds to victims and charities. In 2017, the group launched their Love Myself campaign in partnership with UNICEF. Through various activities and the hashtag #BTSLoveMyself, the campaign reaches out to youth who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence. Their efforts inspire ARMYs around the world to contribute as well.
How Do ARMYs Interact with BTS?
ARMY is a vibrant and wonderful community, whose fans are mostly respectful and show a genuine love for their idols and fanbase. Here are some ways that ARMYs show their appreciation for BTS.
Social Media Celebrations
Image Credits: Image via Elite Daily
Twitter can be a hot mess, but it’s also a great way for ARMYs to share their excitement and pride for BTS. Through hashtags, purple hearts, sharing fan cams or original art, and changing their profile picture to a member's portrait, ARMYs will take over the social media platform on special days for BTS. They can also collaborate for a cause (such as the Black Lives Matter movement) or for fun (such as April Fools' Day 2020's BTS debut prank). No matter Twitter’s flaws, ARMYs prove that social media can be used for good.
Do you remember when ARMYs sang “Young Forever” for BTS? It's one example of fans collaborating to give their idols a special gift. Fan projects range from BTS-themed billboard advertisements to fundraising for charity in BTS' name to personalized projects like artwork and videos. In special cases, BTS will react to these gifts, bringing the talented ARMYs to the rest of the fanbase’s attention. It doesn’t matter how young you are or how long you’ve stanned BTS. There are many ways to show your love for them, and ARMYs are there to help you out.
Image Credits: Borahae from Manila via GMA News Online
Even if you’re unable to see BTS in person, you can still get together with other ARMYs in your community. Through these meetups, fans can stream videos, introduce newcomers to past content, and work on fan projects like the ones we just mentioned. They’re also an opportunity to do charity work and promote ARMY as a caring family, not just an enthusiastic fanbase. Look for a fan gathering in your area close to BTS’, individual members,’ or ARMYs’ birthday.
Image Credits: Image via Judy Tan on Pinterest
We can’t leave out this fun idea for a get-together! Whether it’s your own birthday or to celebrating BTS or ARMY getting a year older (and better), you can’t go wrong with a BTS-themed party. From purple decorations to members’ portraits on your cake to a Bangtan Bomb marathon, you can indulge your love for BTS while connecting with your fellow ARMYs. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Seoulbox: K-Birthdays in a Box
Music and friends are important for a birthday party, but what about snacks? If you’re looking to host your own ARMY birthday with Korean treats, look no further than our Seoulbox. With curated snack selections and other surprises including K-pop merch and K-beauty products, you’re all set to throw a K-birthday bash. Click here to order a Seoulbox today!
Image Credits: Image via Seoulbox
Whether you’re a baby ARMY or have been with BTS from the start, we wish you a happy birthday. Leave us your BTS song recommendations and, if you’d like, tell us when and why you started stanning the group. Saengil Chukahamnida, ARMYs! (생일 축하합니다)