The Meaning Behind "Spring Day" by BTS: Tragedy
Introduction: Part 1
Life is filled with inexplicable moments. From seeing sunny smiles shining through storms, to facing yet another demon found within ourselves; one thing remains to be true- this life is filled with beautiful moments that must be found in the darkness.
For BTS, the seven member Korean phenomenon, one of their beautiful moments was when the name “Bangtan Sonyeondan!” could be heard all across stadiums as they walked the path to receive their deserving awards. In 2017, the beautifully simple, yet incredibly intricate, song named “Spring Day” marked the end of another chapter for the band.
Or perhaps, this was simply just another beginning.
It was the on February 13th, 2017, once the clock struck midnight, the long-awaited music video for the concluding song of the album Wings, was released.
Immediately, the song surged in popularity, and quickly became one of the most famous singles that the band has created. The video in itself experiments with various elements that create a mesmerizing and aesthetically pleasing image. However, this is not the true importance of the song.
There have been many different interpretations by fans about the many meanings of this song. To this day, theories never stop being produced, and the meaning remains ambiguous.
In both parts of this article, there will only be two meanings analyzed and further discussed, part 1 (this article) will be over the Sewol Ferry tragedy, and part two over the theme of youth, which you can now read by clicking here.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
The Sewol Ferry Disaster
On April 16, 2014, a ferry called Sewol capsized and sank. 304 members boarding the ferry died, while only 172 survived. Out of the people who passed, 250 of them were high schoolers.
This tragic event became a shocking event in the history of South Korea, part because of the number of casualties, but also because of the role that the government had.
Or rather, did not have.
There was never a confirmed statement that said the true reason for the incident, however, the most important thing to take notice is what actually occurred while the ferry was already sinking. Basically, the captain and working crew escaped the sinking ferry while telling the passengers to stay where they were.
In other words, the captain and his workers were cowards who violated the regulations of their jobs, and instead chose to save their lives while they were supposed to save the people under their charge. It is a legal requirement for the captain to be the last person to leave the ship, while in this case, he was the first. (I would like to mention, however, that 3 of the workers of the ferry actually choose to do what was supposed of them, and stayed to help the people. Unfortunately, these 3 workers also went down with the ferry.)
The captain was sentenced to a life sentence in prison, while the rest of the crew were sentenced to a period of 18 months to 12 years.
Now, this brings to the topic that was mentioned previously- the involvement of the South Korean government.
The survivors of the capsized ferry were saved by nearby citizens, and the actual Korean Coast Guard didn’t arrive to the scene until after 40 minutes later. Not only this, but the government began to threaten its own people by limiting the freedom of the internet and messengers, and basically told the people to stop spreading “false” rumors. Furthermore, schools were prohibited by school boards to even mention to this topic. And as if this is not enough, the government then began to blame the captain and crew to divert attention from their own incompetent actions.
This, in turn, caused the families of the victims to turn against the government, and against the news media, such as KBS, who had spread lies about the actual number of casualties.
Then, it was revealed that the government had essentially created a blacklist of artists who had supported the victims in any way, and began to censor them and force them into silence.
BTS, even after knowing about the blacklist, began to take matter into their own hands. Each of the members each donated 10 million won, with BigHit adding 30 million. In total, BTS and BigHit donated 100 million won to those affected by this catastrophe.
And then came along the song Spring Day.
Simply by the title alone, we can already conclude that this song has to do something with the tragedy of the Sewol Ferry, which remember, happened on April, on an early spring day.
The song then begins with Jungkook standing in front of a carousel, which has the words “you never walk alone” imprinted on it. The lyrics then begin.
“Passing by the edge of the cold winter, until the days of spring, until the flowers blossom, please stay, please stay there a little longer.”
This phrase can mean many things. Perhaps it refers back to what the captain told the passengers, to simply stay where they were. Or maybe it refers to the nearby citizens, who told the distraught families to stay put while they were trying to save their sons and daughters.
The next key element to comprehend the meaning of this song is to understand the symbolism of shoes in this video.
For example, Jimin holds a pair of shoes while standing in front of the ocean. This is a clear connection to the ferry, and how people places shows of the victims in the harbor with messages all around.
Also, the video ends with a close up of shoes being tied around a tree branch. There are many meanings as to what shoes in trees actually mean, since each community has its own beliefs. However, in many cultures, putting shoes on a tree usually means that someone has died. It is believed that once a person’s spirit returns, they will be able to walk comfortably in the path to heaven.
The lyrics are also an essential part to understanding how the song connects with the incident, since there are a couple of phrases that simply show how the two connect.
“Yeah I hate you. Although you left, there hasn’t been a day I have forgotten you. Honestly, i miss you. But now I’ll erase you, because that will hurt less than resenting you.”
Losing someone dear to you is something that simply cannot be put into words. When you lose someone, you feel guilty. You blame them for leaving you. You feel like you can’t go on. The families of the victims most likely felt something amidst these emotions. They always thought about those they lost, but through the space of time and with the help of others, they move on. You move on.
Although, this is not always the case for everyone.
“I say that I’m gonna erase you, but actually, I still can’t let you go.”
And without a doubt, there are probably still some parents, some siblings, some friends of the victims who are simply not being able to move on. They are haunted by the loss of someone they loved. And for those people, BTS has a message.
“The morning will come again, because no darkness, no season, can last forever… the winter is ending.”
The Sewol Ferry incident was a horrible event that dramatically changed everything, for the lives of many. Throughout the song, we can get a deeper insight into the turmoil of emotions that was created when this single ferry capsized.
There is a part in the song, where someone who sounds lost asks, “how much more do I have to wait? How many more nights do I have to stay up? Until I can see you? Until I can meet you?”
This is, undoubtedly, the people who lost someone on the accident, asking about when they will be able to unite again with those they lost. And the answer lies in all the past lyrics, in all the past messages, where they simple tell them to wait for the new season to come.
And this is why this song became such a wonderful masterpiece. Because whether you knew the meaning or not, no one can deny that this song holds a deeper meaning within its lyrics, within its melodies, within its message.
Spring Day is a song about the families of the victims of the tragedy of the Sewol Ferry. This is a song about wanting to give up, but remembering that there are still other seasons to see. This is a song about missing someone so dearly, but knowing that you will get to see them, someday again.
Since their debut in 2013, BTS has always been a group that hasn't been shy to talk about some stronger themes. And in this case, they created an amazing song to narrate a horrible event.
Spring Day, as mentioned before, is a song that can have many meanings. But regardless of the different opinions of everyone, one thing is sure- this is a beautiful song that simply makes you understand life a bit more.
Thank you for reading my opinion, and thank you for taking the time to get to know more about BTS.
This is only the first part to this article, since I'll be writing a second part where I explore the theme of youth in the history of BTS, and how it concludes with Spring Day. Stay tuned for the next article!
Once again, thank you for reading!
(FYI, I don't own any of the pictures. Credit to the respective owners.)
Watch the Spring Day music video!
Which Meaning Do You Believe Is Correct? (READ PT. 2 FIRST)
© 2018 Daniela E