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Korean Holidays

Korean Holidays

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Korean Holidays table

2011 calendar
2012 calendar
Korean Holidays
Name Date Remarks Day Off
New Year's Day
January 1 The day celebrates the new year. Yes
Korean New Year's Day
1st day of 1st lunar month Also called "Seol(설)" or "Gujeong(구정, 舊正)". The first day of the lunar Korean calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays, and is actually more celebrated holiday than the solar New Year's Day. Yes(3days)
Independence(Declaration) Day
March 1 This day commemorates the March 1st Independence Movement in 1919, the national protest march that rose against Japanese Imperial colonization. On March 1 of the year 1919, the Korean people declared their nation's independence from Japan. It was a catalyst for the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (April 13, 1919). Yes
Children's Day
May 5 The day to honor children. It is instituted not only to celebrate childhood but to promote children’s rights and happiness. Children's Day started on May 1, 1922, when 8 persons including Jeong-hwan Bang declared the Day and held an anniversary. In 1946, the Day changed to May 5, and became a public holiday in 1975. Yes
Buddha's Birthday
8th day of 4th lunar month Also called "Bucheonnim Osinnal (부처님 오신 날)" or "Sawol Chopail (사월 초파일,四月初八日). The birthday of the Gautama Buddha. In South Korea, Buddhism is the one of two major religions, along with Christianity. Yes
Memorial Day
June 6 The day commemorates the men and women who died during the Korean War and other significant wars, or the independence movement against the Japanese colonization. On this day, a national commemoration ceremony is held in Seoul National Cemetery. Yes
Constitution Day
July 17 The day celebrates the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea in 1948. No
Liberation Day
August 15 The day celebrates the national liberation from Japan in 1945. On this day, the Japanese Emperor Shōwa announced the surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces, marking the end of the Korea’s 45 years of Japanese colonization and the World War II. On the same day in 1948, the government of the Republic of Korea was established. The word "Gwangbok" means "restoration of light". Yes
Korean Thanksgiving
15th day of 8th lunar month Also called "Han-gawi (한가위)". Korean traditional Harvest Festival. With Seollal, it is one of the most celebrated Korean traditional holidays. To give thanks to Ancestors for good harvest and to celebrate it together with the rest of the community, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food. Yes(3days)
Armed Forces Day
국군(國軍)의 날
October 1 The day recognizes, venerates, and honors the military forces of the Republic of Korea, their services for the country. No
National Foundation Day
October 3 The day celebrates the foundation of Gojoseon, the first state of the Korean nation. According to the Korean chronicle Samguk Yusa, Dangun founded Gojoseon on the 3rd day of 10th lunar month, 2333 BCE. Today, South Koreans celebrate their national foundation on October 3 according to the solar calendar, for convenience sake. "Gaecheonjeol" means "Heaven-opened Day". Yes
Hangul Day
October 9 The day commemorates the invention (1443) and the proclamation (1446) of hangul, the native alphabet of the Korean language. Created by the King Sejong the Great, Koreans are proud that Hangul is a very scientific and creative artificial alphabet. No
Christmas Day
December 25 Christmas is commonly called "Seongtanjeol (성탄절,聖誕節)" in Korean(especially among Christians), but the official Korean name fixed by law is "Gidoktansinil"2. This day is to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. In South Korea, Christianity is the one of two major religions, along with Buddhism. Yes

1 This is not a legal name. The legal name is simply "January 1"
2 The Sino-Korean word "jeol (절,節)' means 'the great holiday', and is only used for National Celebration Days in South Korean law.
The word "il (일,日)" is for the names of general commemoration days.

updated on 2011-03-01