Saturday, September 18, 2021

Festivals & Holidays in South Korea

AsiaSouth KoreaFestivals & Holidays in South Korea

Traditional Korean festivals are based on the lunar calendar and therefore occur on various days each year. The two most important, Seollal and Chuseok, are family holidays in which everyone returns to their hometowns in large numbers, causing all modes of transportation to be completely congested. It’s worth arranging your trip around these dates, and keep in mind that your best dining choices may be 7-Eleven noodle packages! You won’t notice much of a change on the other holidays, but all banks and government agencies will be closed.

  • Shinjeong (신정), is the Korean word for New Year’s Day, which falls on January 1st. Shin is a Korean term that roughly translates to “new.” The 1st of January is known as ‘Shinjeong,’ since it was the new method to celebrate the New Year when Korea embraced the Gregorian calendar.
  • Seollal (설날), commonly known as “Korean New Year” or “Gujeong,” is the Lunar New Year. Families meet to consume traditional dishes, particularly Ddugguk (), and to conduct an ancestor service. The holiday lasts three days, including the eve and second day. Many stores and restaurants will be closed for three days, so this may not be the best time to come.
  • Sameeljjeol (삼일절, 3.1절): 1st March, in memory of the March 1st resistance struggle against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
  • Orininal (어린이날): The 5th of May is Children’s Day.
  • Buchonnim osinnal or sawolchopa-il: signifies Buddha’s birthday, which falls on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month.
  • Hyeonchung-il (현충일): 6th of June is Memorial Day. In honor of those who have given their lives for the country.
  • Gwangbokjjeol (광복절): On August 15th, Korea celebrates its independence. This day marks the formal conclusion of World War II, with the Japanese surrendering to Allied troops, as well as Korea achieving independence after decades of Japanese colonization.
  • Chuseok (추석), This holiday, also known as “Korean Thanksgiving,” is observed on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year (usually September-October). Koreans celebrate by eating traditional dishes such as songpyeon, a rice cake, and performing folk games. The three-day public holiday is similar to Lunar New Year in that everything closes down, making visiting very tedious.
  • Hangeulnal (한글날) : ‘On October 9th, the Korean alphabet system celebrates its Hangeul Proclamation Day.
  • Gaecheonjeol (개천절): Wednesday, October 3rd. In remembrance of the ancient Korean nation’s initial formation.
  • Christmas (크리스마스/성탄절) is a major holiday in South Korea, but it is mostly observed by young couples who want to spend a romantic day together. Because Christians make up a substantial part of the population (about 30%), there is no lack of celebrations in the thousands of churches while the rest of the nation relaxes at home.