Seoul’s landmarks will be lit up in purple to celebrate the K-pop group’s anniversary

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Skyscrapers, bridges and other landmarks in the South Korean capital will be lit up purple on Monday as the country begins to celebrate the 10th anniversary of K-pop group BTS, whose popularity world is a source of national pride.

The lights will serve as the backdrop for various social media-focused events marking the 2013 debut of the seven-member band, which is now going on hiatus as its vocalists begin performing their mandatory military duties.

Starting Monday evening, many structures in Seoul, including City Hall, the 123-story Lotte World Tower, several bridges over the Han River and the futuristic DDP – an aluminum and concrete dome designed by Zaha Hadid and often used for visual arts – 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 band’s anniversary, which will be available at post offices from Tuesday.

Seoul officials hope the celebrations, which will continue for about two weeks, will boost tourism. The city has designated more than a dozen sites associated with BTS, including places where the group has held major performances or shot some of their famous videos.

Fireworks are expected in a park near the Han River on Saturday evening, hours after one of BTS’ singers RM held a live conference with fans that will be streamed online.

Quickly gaining huge followings in Asia after their debut, BTS’s popularity spread across the world with their 2020 megahit “Dynamite,” the group’s first all-English song that made them the first act of K -pop topped Billboard’s Hot 100. BTS has since performed to sold-out arenas around the world and been invited to speak at United Nations meetings, backed by a legion of global followers who call themselves “the army”.

BTS’ activities as a full group are currently on hold as the artists begin serving in the military. Two BTS vocalists — Jin and J-Hope — have already started their 18-month mandatory service, and more members are to follow in the coming months, which likely means the group will reunite again around 2025.

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

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