Home > Significant Holidays


Koreans have a unique system of holidays. They follow the Gregorian calendar for most of their holidays. However there are some holidays in accordance to the Lunar Calendar. During official holidays schools, banks, and offices are closed, but some restaurants, palaces, department stores, and amusement parks will remain open.

New Year’s Day (January 1)
As in other countries, the first day of the New Year is celebrated.

Seollal (1st Day of 1st Lunar Calendar)
Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal) is one of the most important traditional holidays of the year; this holiday is much more significant than January 1st. Most businesses are closed, and people take several days off from work to visit their hometowns to be with their family. On the day of Seollal, everyone gets up early, puts on their best clothes, and bow to their elders as a reaffirmation of family ties. Feasts are held with specially prepared food such as Ttokguk and Manduguk. People play traditional games, fly kites or spin tops.

Independence Movement Day (March 1)
This day commemorates the Declaration of Independence proclaimed on March 1, 1919, while under Japanese colonization. A reading of the declaration takes place in a special ceremony at Tapgol Park in Seoul, where the document was first read to the public.

New Year’s Day (January 1)
As in other countries, the first day of the New Year is celebrated.

Children’s Day (May 5)
On this day, parents dress up their little ones and take them to children’s parks, amusement parks, zoos, or to the cinema for a full day of fun and games.

Buddha’s Birthday (8th Day of 4th Lunar Month)
The 8th day of the 4th lunar month. Elaborate, solemn rituals are held at many Buddhist temples across the country and lanterns are hung in the temple courtyards. The Sunday before Buddha’s birthday these lanterns are lit and carried in parades in the evening.

Memorial Day (June 6)
Memorial Day is set aside to honour the soldiers and civilians who have given their lives for their country. The largest ceremony is held at the National Cemetery in Seoul.

Liberation Day (August 15)
This day commemorates Japanese acceptance of the Allies’ terms of surrender and the resulting liberation of Korea in 1945.

Chuseok (15th Day of the Eighth Lunar Month)
Chuseok is one of the year’s most important traditional holidays. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Chuseok is often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day. It’s a celebration of the harvest and thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth. Family members come from all over the country to visit their ancestral homes.

National Foundation Day (October 3)
This day commemorates the founding of the Korean nation in 2333 B.C. by the legendary god-king Dangun. A simple ceremony is held at an altar on top of Mt. Manisan in Ganghwado Province. The altar is said to have been erected by Dangun to offer thanks to his father and grandfather in heaven.

Hangeul Day (October 9)
Hangeul Day, otherwise referred to as Hangeul Proclamation Day or Korean Alphabet Day, is a commemoration held on October 9th in South Korea to remember the creation of Hangeul, the country’s native alphabet as proclaimed by the publication of Hunmin Jeongeum on this day in 1446.

Christmas (December 25)
Christmas is observed as a national holiday in Korea as in many other countries.

Labor Day (May 1)
Although Labor Day is not a national holiday, banks and businesses are closed, and many people enjoy a day off.

Parents’ Day (May 8)
Sons and daughters show their love and respect for their parents on this day. Parents’ Day is not a national holiday. Banks and shops are open for business.

Constitution Day (July 17)
Commemorates the proclamation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea that was made on July 17, 1948.

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