Getting Festive with Korean Holidays!

Holidays around the world can differ from the ones in the United States. Each country has its own customs and traditions that often blend into their holidays. In Korea, some of the holidays are the same, but most of us living in the U.S. have likely never heard of many others. Starting from the beginning of the year, let’s go through some of the most prominent holidays Koreans celebrate:

2019

January 1 – New Year’s Day

Like other countries, the first day of the new year is celebrated. This day, however, isn’t as widely celebrated in Korea as the Korean Lunar New Year, Seollal.

February 5 – Seollal (Korean Lunar New Year)

Seollal is the Korean version of Chinese New Year, and is a very special holiday that usually lasts for three days. Not only do many businesses close during this time, but many people take days off of work to travel back to their hometowns and spend time with their families.

February 14 – Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day in Korea is similar to that of the United States. However, unlike the United States, this day is mainly when women give chocolate to men as a sign of affection.

March 14 – White Day

White Day is also similar to Valentine’s Day, but instead of the women giving gifts, the men do. On this day, men usually view the “Rule of Three,” which means that the gift they are giving should be roughly three times the value of the gift they received on Valentine’s Day.

April 14 – Black Day

Black Day in Korea is a special day, not for couples, but instead for the singles around the country! Single people come together to sit and eat jjajangmyeon in order to “mourn” the fact that they are single.

May 5 – Children’s Day

This day is to celebrate children and the bounds they go through to become good adults. Parents hope for their children to grow up healthy and become good citizens. To reward them for their behavior, parents take them to parks, zoos, or to the cinema for a day of fun.

May 12 – Buddha's Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. At many temples across Korea, rituals are held, and lanterns are strung up in the streets leading to those temples.

September 12-14 – Chuseok

One of the most important and festive Korean holidays, Chuseok, often referred to as “Korean Thanksgiving,” is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. Typically, people go back to their hometown and celebrate by eating many different foods, including the most popular, songpyeon—a sweet and nutty rice cake. This holiday symbolizes the beginning of fall, so most of the food is prepared using the new year’s crops.

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Happy #KoreanThanksgiving! #🇰🇷 🎎🍁🙏 I'm so grateful to be in Seoul with my mom and aunt's family for #Chuseok (#추석) aka, Autumn harvest festival. Love this colorful spread of food they prepared for us including Galbi (갈비), Jeon (전, flour & egg battered fried fish, meat, veggies), colorful Gujeolpan (#구절판, medley of proteins & veggies w/ wheat flour pancake), and various banchan (반찬) & #kimchi (#김치). As much as I enjoy dining out, nothing beats food made by and shared with loved ones. ❤️ #jeaniuseatskorea . . . #jeaniuseats #koreanfood #koreanfeast #foodiesofinstagram #nycfoodblogger #cntraveler #passionpassport #wanderlust #traveldeeper #traveljeollado #travelforfood #imagineyourkorea #igkorea #explorekorea #visit_korea @korean_nyc #koreannyc #koreanamerican

A post shared by Jean Lee❤️Eat-Drink-Travel (@jeaniuseats) on

October 9 – Hangul Day

In 1445 A.D., King Sejong the Great commissioned a team of scholars to create the Korean language. On October 9, 1446, Hangul was made the official alphabet of Korea and is celebrated every year on that day.

November 11 – Pepero Day

This unofficial holiday is similar to Valentine’s Day, but instead of women giving gifts to the men, people exchange boxes of the chocolate-covered cookie snacks with friends, co-workers and lovers.

December 25 – Christmas

This holiday is celebrated how most other countries celebrate, with trees and lights all around Korea. Since it is an official holiday, people have the day off of school and work, but go back the next day and await for the longer break later in the new year.

What’s interesting is that these are only some of most celebrated holidays that Korea has to offer.

Which of these do you celebrate?

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