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South Korea is known by many in the international community to be a friendly, welcoming country that loves a good party. The same goes for holidays in South Korea, which are a mix of modern and traditional festivals and celebrations. Ready to party like a local in South Korea? Read on to learn about some of the country’s holiday customs, as well as some more practical information like when to expect South Korea’s banks and businesses to be closed for the holidays.
There are 12 national holidays in South Korea, depending on the year.
- Korean public holidays: 12
- Korean bank holidays: 11
In the 1930s, some Christians in South Korea started to recognize Mother’s Day, which was eventually established as a recognized holiday on May 8. Eventually, though, people started talking about starting a Father’s Day tradition, and in 1973, a presidential decree declared May 8 to be Parents Day. It’s a low-key holiday in South Korea. Children give their parents gifts of carnations, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare organizes public celebrations, including awards for some parents.
South Korea celebrates its own New Year in line with the lunar calendar, on the first day of the first lunar month. The Korean New Year is an important festival that’s celebrated with ceremonies and traditional festival food over three days that workers have off.
The fall harvest festival, called Chuseok, is also an important time for South Korea. During the festival, families gather all together in their ancestral homes and celebrate the year’s harvest.
Presidential Election Day is observed as a national holiday in South Korea once every five years.
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Korean||2017 Date||Bank holiday?|
|Western New Year||신정 (新正) (Sinjeong)||1 January, 2017||Yes|
|Korean New Year||설날 (Seollal)||28 January, 2017||Yes, observed 27-30 January, 2017|
|Independence Movement Day||3·1절 (三一節) (Samiljeol)||1 March, 2017||Yes|
|Buddha’s Birthday||석가탄신일 (釋迦誕辰日) (Seokgatansinil)||3 May, 2017||Yes|
|Children’s Day||어린이날 (Eorininal)||5 May, 2017||Yes|
|Memorial Day||현충일 (顯忠日) (Hyeonchung-il)||6 June, 2017||Yes|
|Constitution Day||제헌절(制憲節) (Jeheonjeol)||17 July, 2017||No|
|Liberation Day||광복절 (光復節) (Gwangbokjeol)||15 August, 2017||Yes|
|Harvest Festival||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||2-6 October, 2017||Yes|
|National Foundation Day||개천절 (開天節) (Gaecheonjeol)||3 October, 2017||Yes|
|Korean Thanksgiving||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||4 October, 2017||Yes|
|Hangul Day||한글날 (Hangeulnal)||9 October, 2017||Yes|
|Presidential Election Day||20 December, 2017||Yes|
|Christmas||크리스마스 (Christmas)||25 December, 2017||Yes|
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Korean||2018 Date||Bank holiday?|
|Western New Year||신정 (新正) (Sinjeong)||1 January, 2018||Yes|
|Korean New Year||설날 (Seollal)||16 February, 2018||Yes, observed 16-19 February, 2018|
|Independence Movement Day||3·1절 (三一節) (Samiljeol)||1 March, 2018||Yes|
|Children’s Day||어린이날 (Eorininal)||5 May, 2018||Yes|
|Buddha’s Birthday||석가탄신일 (釋迦誕辰日) (Seokgatansinil)||22 May, 2018||Yes|
|Memorial Day||현충일 (顯忠日) (Hyeonchung-il)||6 June, 2018||Yes|
|Constitution Day||제헌절(制憲節) (Jeheonjeol)||17 July, 2018||No|
|Liberation Day||광복절 (光復節) (Gwangbokjeol)||15 August, 2018||Yes|
|Harvest Festival||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||23-25 September, 2018||Yes|
|Korean Thanksgiving||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||25 September, 2018||Yes|
|National Foundation Day||개천절 (開天節) (Gaecheonjeol)||3 October, 2018||Yes|
|Hangul Day||한글날 (Hangeulnal)||9 October, 2018||Yes|
|Christmas||크리스마스 (Christmas)||25 December, 2018||Yes|
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Korean||2019 Date||Bank holiday?|
|Western New Year||신정 (新正) (Sinjeong)||1 January, 2019||Yes|
|Korean New Year||설날 (Seollal)||5 February, 2019||Yes, observed 5-8 February, 2019|
|Independence Movement Day||3·1절 (三一節) (Samiljeol)||1 March, 2019||Yes|
|Children’s Day||어린이날 (Eorininal)||5 May, 2019||Yes|
|Buddha’s Birthday||석가탄신일 (釋迦誕辰日) (Seokgatansinil)||13 May, 2019||Yes|
|Memorial Day||현충일 (顯忠日) (Hyeonchung-il)||6 June, 2019||Yes|
|Constitution Day||제헌절(制憲節) (Jeheonjeol)||17 July, 2019||No|
|Liberation Day||광복절 (光復節) (Gwangbokjeol)||15 August, 2019||Yes|
|Harvest Festival||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||12-14 September, 2019||Yes|
|Korean Thanksgiving||추석 (秋夕) (Chuseok)||13 September, 2019||Yes|
|National Foundation Day||개천절 (開天節) (Gaecheonjeol)||3 October, 2019||Yes|
|Hangul Day||한글날 (Hangeulnal)||9 October, 2019||Yes|
|Christmas||크리스마스 (Christmas)||25 December, 2019||Yes|
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South Korean people take their holidays seriously, and now you’re ready to celebrate just like they do, with their unique mix of modern customs and generations-old traditions. And the best part is, with this guide, you’ll never be caught needing a bank when they’re all closed for the holidays. With that stress gone, you’re free to just enjoy your time in South Korea. Happy holidays!
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