South Korean Holidays
Every person in the world loves holidays, but Koreans can appreciate holidays in their own right. The fact is that despite the seemingly “sufficient” number of holidays (nine public holidays), when they fall on weekends, they are not “transferred” to weekdays, so a good half of the holidays are simply “burned out.
This is why Koreans treat every holiday with special reverence and try to spend it beautifully, brightly and cheerfully. Korea is a country, where the holidays are appreciated and respected.
What is South Korea like?
“The land of morning freshness” is a figurative expression derived from the word “Joseon,” the name of the last Korean kingdom. “Cho” means “morning” and “sleep” means “bright.”
“Bright morning” evokes the image of the sun rising over the rice fields and burning away the shroud of mist in the mountains, the image of morning silence and peace, when one can, with a breath of fresh air, reenergize and prepare for a day of work in the ever-moving, ever-dynamic Korea.
The Korean Peninsula is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent, stretching southward, its approximate length of 1,030 kilometers and width of 175 kilometers at its narrowest point. Mountains cover nearly 70 percent of Korea, making it one of the most mountainous regions in the world.
The rises and bizarre piles of Korean granite and limestone have created spectacular views of mountains and valleys. Mountain ranges crisscross the entire peninsula on the east coast, jutting steeply into the East Sea, while on the west coast they slowly descend, forming vast valleys where Korea’s main agricultural crop, rice, is grown.
Korea, like any country, is firmly associated with certain images. First, it is the national garment Hanbok, which is necessarily worn on holidays. Secondly, the healthy food of pulkogi and kimchi (“fire meat” and vegetables seasoned in salt water with the addition of spices). Third, the Korean alphabet Hangul . By the way, the country celebrates the Day of Proclamation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul, on October 9.
The main holidays of South Korea, featured on the pages of the Calendar, are listed below.
There are 11 holidays in total . In green are festivals, anniversaries, etc. that are important to the country but are not holidays in the literal sense of the word. National holidays are marked in red.
New Year’s Day in South Korea according to the European calendar is celebrated on January 1 quite formally. Basically, everyone tries to use the non-working days to meet with friends and relatives. Aside from decorated Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and the hustle and bustle around the counters.
Every year on March 1, South Korea celebrates Independence Movement Day (Samiljol) in honor of the declaration of independence from Japanese colonial rule and the official beginning of the passive resistance movement.In March
Arbor Day (Sikmogil) was established in connection with the Park Jonghee government’s campaign to restore Korean forests. As you know, the campaign was extremely successful.Until 2005, the day was a state holiday.
Every year on May 5, South Korea celebrates Children’s Day, a national holiday. In Korean, its name sounds: “Orinie nal. This day became a national holiday in 1923 thanks to public educator Bang Jong-hwan who suggested .
Buddha’s Birthday (Seokgatansinil) is celebrated in some East Asian countries on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month. In the Republic of Korea this holiday became an official holiday in 1975.
One of South Korea’s most famous festivals, the Gangneung Dano Spring Festival (Gangneung Dano Festival), opens today. The festival takes its name from the ancient city of Gangneung, located on the coast of Japan.
Memorial Day (현충일; Hyeonchung-il) is held in South Korea on June 6 to honor the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives for their country during the war. This commemorative date is celebrated on the day of the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War .
Constitution Day in South Korea (Jeheonjeol / Constitution Day in South Korea) is celebrated annually on July 17, the day the country’s constitution was proclaimed in 1948.The first Republic of South Korea was formally founded on August 18, 1948.Officially
Chuseok, the autumn festival of the full moon, is the holiday that probably all residents of contemporary Korea look forward to the most. Chuseok is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.But to be more precise, Chuseok d.
Every year on October 3, South Korea celebrates one of its major national holidays, National Foundation Day / Gaecheonjeol. This day is the official holiday in the country, the day on which the national flag is raised .
October 9 is Korean Alphabet Proclamation Day (Hangul Proclamation Day) in South Korea. The aboriginal alphabet of the Korean language is called Hangul, and today celebrates its creation and proclamation by King Sejong the Great (Ki.
Help for creation of this section: Kagan Han, Elena Hegai, Mikhail Khoroshev
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Holidays in Korea
South Korea is a special country in terms of holidays. There are only 9 official holidays a year, and when they fall on a weekend, they are not transferred.
Therefore, the opportunity to relax is even less. And perhaps this is why many South Koreans are trying to take every chance to rest and have fun. Besides, there was a real struggle for some holidays here… So Koreans really appreciate the opportunity to go out and enjoy life. So, let’s go in order.
New Year and Christmas in Korea
Christmas in Korea refers to a Catholic holiday celebrated on December 25. It came along with the Gregorian New Year in South Korea along with European culture and its influence. The locals also celebrate New Year’s Eve according to the Eastern, lunar calendar every year, and there is no stable date; the difference from one year to the next can be very significant and reach, for example, 10 days or even more.
The New Year according to the Eastern calendar continues to be celebrated as a tribute to national traditions. It is celebrated in February. Different cultural values and contexts are evident in the different approaches to these holidays, in the organizational aspects, in how and with what they decorate the streets, what gifts they give and to whom they give them, and what symbols they use.
In South Korea about 30% of the population celebrates Christmas, which is the number of Catholics or, more precisely, Christians, but Catholics are in the majority.
And since it’s hard not to be absorbed in the atmosphere of some kind of holiday when a third of the country celebrates something, it ends up that everyone celebrates something one way or another. But in general, Christmas in South Korea has taken on a slightly surprising coloring, in fact, here it is the second Valentine’s Day, when lovers give each other different gifts and ask each other out on a date. To the not-so-sophisticated person, such an environment may even strike a chord.
Preparations for the classic New Year in South Korea are not as many people are used to. There is no mass, queues, a huge number of people running around before the holiday. Still, psychologically, most of the population considers the New Year is a classic, oriental holiday, which is reflected in the approach to organization. But at the same time people here do not mind to congratulate their Western colleagues, partners, and just have fun: why not? And of course, tourist centers and different complexes offer various shows, performances, fairs, in general, try to please tourists as much as possible.
The Lunar New Year (Zeul) is celebrated very differently, both in the family circle and very lavishly in the streets. But in general, Koreans try to keep the traditions alive. The morning begins with a ceremonial breakfast; it is the morning of a new day, the first day of the new year according to this calendar. National dishes are served, appetizers are obligatory, most of them were prepared the day before, of course, there’s kimchi, this product South Korea is proud of, lotus root, anchovy, in general, it’s hard to imagine a holiday feast without seafood at all. There are also all kinds of herbs, plants, for example, bell root sounds very exotic to the European man.
Also on this day there are many different rituals related to honoring elders. For example, since early morning everyone participates in the ritual of tsare – a kind of sacrifice to the dead ancestors, which means that a table must be laid for them. And there are many rules about how exactly it should be done, where should stand what dish, in what order different dishes will be placed on the table, and so on. It is believed that only women should prepare such a sacrifice.
Next comes the worship of the living elder relatives. And then comes the worship of living parents, aunts, uncles… And it is of course the youngest members of the family who bow the most, no matter how old you are now, that is, adult men of 50 years will bow to their living parents, aunts, uncles. But the older one gives the younger one money, and the more relatives, respectively, the more substantial gift you can get. In general, it is a very interesting and unusual holiday, which is curious and original in its own way.
And, of course, on these days streets are decorated, there are various processions, parades, all sorts of events and fireworks, in general, everything looks very beautiful. But still, every Korean should be with his family in the morning.
In general, very large families gather, sometimes several dozen people. Very often relatives meet where they were born, meet their parents, prepare a lot of food, bring gifts.
And everything is celebrated for 3 days, which is the longest weekend of the whole year.
One of the big enough Korean holidays because 25% of the population in South Korea is Buddhist. This religious celebration takes place on the 8th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar, which means each year is counted separately. Everything is decorated with bright lanterns, there are statues of Buddha everywhere, and there is often recognizable music, which is difficult to mistake for anything else.
Koreans visit Korean temples and there are festive processions with very picturesque lotus-shaped lanterns. Often the surroundings of monasteries and pagodas are literally covered, as a result, no free space is left, but everything looks very colorful, especially at night, when it glows. Often monasteries hold charitable dinners with tea and ritual food, and all visitors are invited. In general, the atmosphere is very calm and friendly.
Mentioning this holiday is a little bit out of chronology, but it is justified from the point of view of its importance, because it is necessary to tell about it in detail. First, it is South Korea’s second most important harvest festival, and it is the main autumn celebration. It is also celebrated for three days, although in this case rather unofficially, because the government has not yet agreed to give two holidays a year for three days off, but the residents are fighting for their rights and are ready to make sure that they were given a holiday at the official level. In the meantime, only one day is legal, but most take time off or just take days off at their own expense, so they make something up.
Secondly, it is a celebration that is waited for, if not the whole year, then about half of it for sure. They prepare for it very carefully, just like the Lunar New Year, which is also a very family holiday, so many Koreans go home to their parents. Such movements are due to the fact that young people are now actively seeking to move from the provinces to big cities, Seoul, the capital and other major cities, and some are studying or working or even combine both together abroad. But in Chuseok, they always return home to spend time with their families.
And since now about half of the population is not where they were born, the return is not without adventure. This is why Chusok is called the day of the great migration, as about half of the population ends up on the roads. Few people have enough money to buy plane tickets, and besides, seats are limited, and they don’t go to the villages anyway. So sooner or later everyone ends up on terribly clogged roads, where the traffic jams are unbelievable.
But when a person who wants to get somewhere does find himself at the festival, he is waiting for a very rich program. For example, there is singing and dancing, they decorate the village with different lanterns and offer everyone, especially the city residents, who are away from the skill and ability to make something with their hands, to make a handicraft. You can practice calligraphy or make lanterns, Koreans love to decorate everything, from simple trees to temples. Of course, it’s hard to imagine a real Oriental holiday without a kite, so you will definitely see it here. Or you can try your hand and make your own kite. In principle, to visit Chusok and do not learn at least something – very hard, peculiar workshops are held at every corner.
You can also admire the competitions or take part in them, take pictures in beautiful historical clothes… By the way, tourists, unlike the Koreans themselves, do not need to go to the village to see it all with their own eyes. They can simply go to an elaborately created imitation in the heart of Seoul. Everything is as colorfully rendered as one can imagine and the fact that everyone can join in is gratifying separately.
Speaking of festivals, it’s impossible to mention traditional festivals, for example, there’s one that’s relatively new, dedicated to lanterns. It’s held in the heart of Seoul. The festival has been held every November since 2009, but it has already managed to be associated with this beautiful city.
The lanterns are lit from 17 hours and burn until 23:05.
There are a lot of people, but thanks to volunteers and pandemonium does not happen. Only about a kilometer of the square is lit. There are different competitions, contests and just interesting activities. For example, you can make your own paper lantern or take a picture of what is – the photographers here is an incredible number, it seems that they got into some kind of Mecca. In general, get here tourists are highly advised.
It is also called the ice or mountain trout fishing holiday. Is one of the most famous events of this kind, not least because of the constant records that are set on it. So, not so long ago the whole world broke the news that at one lake gathered 300 thousand people! It is noteworthy that this area is close to the border with North Korea, and it is really close, but no one is confused: the lakes here are the first to freeze over in winter, and the holiday is held at the beginning of winter.
What do people do here? They catch trout, try to catch as much fish as possible, there are contests: who has caught the biggest amount (pieces), the fastest (pulled out the first fish), the biggest by weight, whose individual fish weighed the most, and so on. Since the rules do not stipulate a particular method, some particularly cunning Koreans, without waiting until they are given a hook and line, dive into the ice-hole and catch fish with their teeth! It is true, tents are set up on the banks, there are mobile trailers with good heating, so that frostbite does not threaten anyone, but still it makes a strong impression.
In general, organizers drill up to 14 thousand holes before the holiday, but this, as you can guess, is catastrophically low.
There is a separate struggle for the holes. Those wishing to find a free spot, if possible, drill their own hole or join someone else’s with permission. Some enterprising individuals even sell or rent them out later – by the hour. In general, it’s really fun.
A very unusual event that takes place every year in July in Koren. It was originally conceived as a means to draw attention to the use of healing cosmetics containing local beneficial mud. But gradually the entertainment potential of the event was revealed.
It turned out that most people just like to bathe in mud, and women’s wrestling is particularly popular. However, for children and the elderly, too, there is entertainment to suit all tastes.