BTS 10th anniversary: Seoul landmarks light up in purple to celebrate K-pop group

The record-breaking band's global popularity is a source of national pride in South Korea

Powered by automated translation

Skyscrapers, bridges and other landmarks in South Korea’s capital 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 provided 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 aluminium and concrete dome that’s often used for visual art – were bathed in purple, a colour associated with BTS.

Messages congratulating BTS were displayed on digital screens in buildings across Seoul, while postal authorities have issued stamps marking the group’s anniversary, which will be available at post offices in the country from Tuesday.

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, will hold a live talk with fans that will be broadcast online.

Quickly garnering huge followings in Asia following their debut, BTS's popularity expanded across the globe with their 2020 megahit Dynamitethe 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 has been invited to speak at United Nations meetings, supported by a legion of global followers who call themselves the “Army”.

BTS’s 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 due to follow in the coming months, which means the group is likely to reconvene around 2025.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve 18-21 months in uniform under a system meant to deter aggression from rival North Korea.

Updated: June 12, 2023, 1:34 PM