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Your Guide To All The *Holidays* Celebrated In South Korea

Your Guide To All The Public Holidays In South Korea
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Koreans celebrate almost anything there is to celebrate, which makes the Land of the Morning Calm popular for tourists who want to enjoy these various occasions. Aside from this, they enjoy some worldwide holidays with a twist in the Korean way that makes these events more fun and memorable.

With that, here are some of the major and minor holidays observed in South Korea:

1. Seollal - Towards the end of January or the beginning of February

Seollal is the Korean Lunar New Year which falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year, it was celebrated last January 22. It's the time of the year for family gatherings, performing Korean rituals, playing folk games like yut nori, and eating traditional food! Out of all the Korean traditions performed, the MOST important is to do sebae, which is the act of kneeling and bowing deeply so that your hands are on the ground and wishing your elders a happy new year to show respect.

Origin and customs of Korean Lunar New Year Seollal

2. Valentine's Day - February 14

The Korean way of celebrating Valentine's Day is women giving gifts to men as a sign of affection, and the most common gift given is chocolates! Single women can also take this sweet opportunity to confess their feelings to someone they have fallen for. Isn't that just romantic? For couples, it's a special day when they go out on a date to celebrate. It's just around the corner, and I bet stores are now preparing for their display of chocolates and goodie baskets!


????????VALENTINE DAY IN KOREA | Shopping + date

3. White Day - March 14

Gentlemen, this is now your time to show the ladies some *extra* love and affection. White Day is just like Valentine's Day, only the roles are reversed. Just a bit of a fun fact: The celebration originated in Japan and was originally called "Marshmallow Day," where they give white marshmallows to return the favor or as an answer back to the women. It was then changed to "White Day," so men are not limited to just giving marshmallows but anything, even extravagant ones!

White Day in Korea (2nd Valentine's Day)

4. Black Day - April 14

Black Day, or Single's Day, is a day of mourning for single people (not really). Kidding aside, it's a day dedicated to people who aren't in any romantic relationship and didn't receive anything from Valentine's Day and White Day. The single ones go out with friends to eat jjajangmyeon, a well-known comfort food which is a noodle meal in black bean sauce, thus the name "Black Day." If it's an all-black occasion, enjoying black coffee would be a source of ~comfort~, too!

Black Day - Korea's Singles' Day (April 14th)

5. Children's Day - May 5

Children's Day is a public holiday observed in South Korea where they celebrate the existence of the future of their country: the children. This was originally established on May 1, but since it coincides with Labor Day, it was moved to the fifth to have a day solely dedicated to the children. Families celebrate this by treating their children with extra love and taking them out to amusement parks and zoos and giving them special presents.

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Children's Day in Seoul, South Korea | A Day in My Life as an English Teacher

6. Parents' Day - May 8

Parents' Day is an essential day to give honor to our beloved parents and recognize the importance of how they nurture their children. The most common gifts that children give to their parents are letters and red carnations. You may have seen Korean celebs going live on this day to make origami carnations, and it's also a ~sweet~ gesture to thank your parents by giving them something you made.

South Koreans honor mothers and fathers on Parents' Day

7. Chuseok - September or October

Chuseok is Korean Thanksgiving celebrated for three days (including days before and after Chuseok day). It is held every 15th day of August in the Lunar Calendar, and this year the celebration is on September 28-30. Chuseok is also a time of family gatherings and is commonly enjoyed by making special food like songpyeon, a different kind of rice cake, which is usually done on the eve of Chuseok.

[T:TIME] TXT Making Songpyeon - TXT

8. Hangul Day - October 9

Hangul Day is the annual commemoration of the Korean alphabet. Before Hangul, Koreans used to write using Chinese characters. Because of its complexity, King Sejeong decided it would be best if the Korean language had its own alphabet. Korean celebrities usually post their handwriting on social media, and you can see how beautiful Hangul really is.

What's Hangeul Day? Meanings and principles behind Korean alphabet

9. Pepero Day - November 11

Pepero Day is just like Valentine's Day—usually a day for couples and exchanging chocolates—only that Pepero is the one specific thing that is given. Fun fact: Pepero Day is celebrated on 11/11 because the numbers look like Pepero sticks. And did you know it is an idea that for you to become tall and thin (like the Pepero sticks), 11 packets of the snack must be eaten on 11/11, at 11:11 a.m and 11:11 p.m? We don't know if it works but hey, you get to eat yummy Peperos!


What is Pepero Day in Korea?

10. Christmas Day - December 25

Koreans enjoy this day a little differently from other countries. Here in the Philippines (and other countries), it is usually a time for families to spend time together and prepare food. In South Korea, couples are the ones who usually celebrate it together. It's a perfect day to go ice skating, sledding, or even go on amusement park dates!

Do you know how Koreans celebrate Christmas?


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