Learn All About Haechi and Seoulbox!

Learn All About Haechi and Seoulbox!

HAECHI AND SEOULBOX

Every Seoulbox is packed with delicious snacks and a Seoulzine written with love. But do you know what else is inside? Your very own haechi (해태)! Today, we’re here to tell you more about the haechi and why Seoulbox uses it as our symbol.

What Is Haechi?

A haechi, or haetae, is the Korean version of the Chinese xiezhi. The xiezhi looks like a goat, ox, or sheep with one horn. The haechi has a horn, too but is more lion-like, covered with scales, and wears a bell around its neck. It’s also called a “unicorn-lion.”

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The xiezhi was able to tell guilty people from the innocent, so it was used in courts during trials. It let innocent people live but head-butted or stabbed guilty people and ate them. Its image appeared on crowns, in public offices, and badges (below).

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Besides standing for justice, the haechi was said to protect people from natural disasters and fires. For example, when building Gyeongbok Palace, the workers set up haechi statues on either side of Gwanghwamun Gate facing Gwanaksan Mountain. (It was called a fire mountain because its peak looked like flames. The haechi’s nature symbol was water, which put out the fire.)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Haechi in Seoul

The haetae is more than a mythical creature or symbol of an old era. It’s also Seoul’s official mascot! “Haechi” became Seoul Metropolitan’s mascot in 2008, replacing Wangbomi the tiger who wasn’t that popular.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

You can find haechi statues in front of many public buildings, including the National Assembly Building and theatres. According to some stories, there were fewer fires after the statues were installed there.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Haechi appear in advertisements and on many souvenirs, including coins and T-shirts. You will also see haechi lanterns at lantern festivals.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

There’s a snack company, Haitai Confectionery & Foods, which uses Haechi as their logo. Haitai helped fund the statues outside the National Assembly Building. They make some very popular snacks, including Oh! Yes, Choco Cakes and Honey Butter Chips.

If you want to learn more about Haechi and Seoul, then check out this blog!

When Seoulbox Chose Haechi?

We wanted a unique symbol for Seoulbox, too. The old logo we had was too simple, so we needed something that would help us stand out.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Since Haechi was already representing Seoul, we chose him as our symbol in July 2021. We thought he was wild and mysterious, but still cute. Perfect for Seoulbox.

We also chose our mascots that summer. Hoya the Hedgehog, our snack protector, joined the Seoulbox family in August. Khun the veggie raccoon came in September.

By using creatures from Korean mythology and nature in our packaging, we share a piece of our culture. We hope it makes you curious enough to learn more about Haechi and other traditional Korean stories.

What do you think of Haechi? What are some other symbols or logos that you’ve seen inspired by Korean myths? Let us know below!

Author: SUJI SOHN

About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.

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