2016 holidays in Korea
Koreans still use Sun calendar and Lunar calendar. Most Korean holidays are on the Sun calendar, however we(Koreans) still celebrate the two biggest holidays(Seollal and Chuseok) with the Lunar calendar. Because these days are a day off or a few days off at work and school, so we call them ‘공휴일(day off)’ and ‘연휴(a few days off)’.
Here are a list of holidays and what we do on those days.
1/1 설날 (양력설 New year’s day on the Solar calendar) – We eat 떡국(rice cake soup) and celebrate a new year.
2/7~2/10설날(음력설 New year’s day on the Lunar calendar) – It is the biggest holiday!!! It is January 1st on the Lunar calendar, so the date changes every year on the Solar calendar. People go to their hometown and meet their parents and families on this day. A day before 설날, we get together to prepare food for the early morning ceremony on 설날, which is for our ancestors. We eat 떡국(rice cake soup) after the ceremony and we play traditional games like 윷놀이(four sticks). For more information about 설날, click here.
3/1 삼일절 (Independent movement day) – It occurred on March 1st in 1919 during the Japanese colonial occupation period. On this day, there are lots of places have reenactment performances. You can learn more about 삼일절 through this website.
5/5 어린이날 (Children’s day) – Kids love it, parents hate it. 🙂 A lot of people go to amusement parks or go on a picnic on this day.
5/14 석가탄신일 (Buddha’s birthday) – It is April 8th on the Lunar calendar, so the date changes every year. Buddhism is one of the biggest religions in Korea. Buddhists go to a temple to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.
6/6 현충일 (Memorial day) – It is the day to commemorate people who fought for Korea. The government holds a ceremony at the National Cemetery in Seoul.
8/15 광복절 (Independence day) – It is the day that we found our freedom back from Japanese colonial rule.
9/14~9/16 추석(Chuseok, Full moon holiday) – It is August 15th on the Lunar calendar, so the date changes every year. Chuseok is the second biggest holiday for Koreans. We go to our parents house to celebrate it and eat a lot of food. The day before Chuseok, families get together to prepare food for a morning ceremony on Chuseok. Food for Chuseok, 송편(pine tree flavor rice cake) is the most famous food for this day.
10/3 개천절 (National Foundation Day) – National Foundation day is celebrating for the day that Dan-goon Jo-seon is established for 4348 years ago.
10/9 한글날 (Hangeul Day) – It is the day to celebrate Hangeul that was created by Sejong the Great in 1443.
12/25 크리스마스 (Christmas) – A lot of people celebrate Christmas even though they are not Christians. Koreans somehow celebrate it as Valentine’s day, so a lot of couples eat out on this day. Some restaurants change their prices twice as much as original prices. Streets are full of people who hang out with their friends. It is fun, but I don’t recommend you to go to a busy street because there are lots of people who are drunk.
Some holidays are not a day off, but very important for us, which are
5/8 어버이 날 (Parents day) – It is the day to appreciate our parents. On this day, we send carnations and gifts to our parents or eat a nice meal with them.
5/15 스승의 날 (Teacher’s day) – We express appreciation to our teachers on this day by sending cards and gifts to our teachers. 스승 is formal word for teacher.
* 설날 Seollal (lunar calendar), 추석(Chuseok) and 석가탄신일(Buddha’s birthday) change every year because it is on the lunar calendar.
* My favorite holiday is Seollal and Chooseok because there are lots of food and we can take three days off to see our family and friends!