Public holidays in South Korea

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Public holidays in South Korea each belong to one or more of three categories:

  • National Celebration Day (Hangul: 국경일, Hanja: 國慶日)
  • National Flag Raising Day (Hangul: 국기게양일, Hanja: 國旗揭揚日)
  • Public Day Off (Hangul: 공휴일, Hanja: 公休日)

Each category has a different legal basis. All National Celebration Days are also Flag Raising Days.

List of Public holidays in South Korea[edit]

English name Korean name Transliteration Date Remarks National celebration day Flag raising Day off
New Year's Day 신정(新正) Sinjeong January 1 The official name of the holiday is simply "January 1" no no yes
Korean New Year 설날 Seollal 1st day of 1st lunar month Also called Seol (설) or Gujeong (구정, 舊正). The first day of the Korean lunar calendar. It is one of the most important of the traditional Korean holidays, and is considered a more important holiday than the solar New Year's Day. no no yes (3 days)
Independence Day 3·1절(三一節) Samiljeol March 1 This day commemorates the March 1st Movement in 1919. On March 1 of this year, 33 Korean nationalists and students declared their nation's independence in Seoul. It started a nation-wide civil protest and was a catalyst for the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (April 13, 1919). yes yes yes
Children's Day 어린이날 Eorininal May 5 The day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. In Korea, Children's Day started on May 1, 1922, when 8 persons including Bang Jeong-hwan (방정환) declared the Day and held an anniversary. In 1946, the Day changed to May 5, and became a public holiday in 1975. no no yes
Buddha's Birthday 석가탄신일(釋迦誕辰日) Seokgatansinil 8th day of 4th lunar month Also called Bucheonnim Osinnal (부처님 오신 날) or Sawol Chopail (사월 초파일,四月初八日). The birthday of Gautama Buddha. no no yes
Memorial Day 현충일(顯忠日) Hyeonchung-il June 6 The day commemorates the men and women who died while in military service or in the independence movement. On this day, a national commemoration ceremony is held in Seoul National Cemetery. no half mast yes
Constitution Day 제헌절(制憲節) Jeheonjeol July 17 The day celebrates the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea in 1948. yes yes no
Liberation Day 광복절(光復節) Gwangbokjeol August 15 The day celebrates the national liberation from the Empire of Japan in 1945. On the same day in 1948, the government of the Republic of Korea was established. The word Gwangbok means "restoration of light". yes yes yes
Midautumn Festival 추석(秋夕) Chuseok 15th day of 8th lunar month Also called Han-gawi (한가위). Korean traditional harvest festival. With Korean New Year, it is one of the most important Korean traditional holidays. As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and feast on traditional food. no no yes (3 days)
Armed Forces Day 국군(國軍)의 날 Gukgunuinal October 1 The day recognizes, venerates, and honors the military forces of the Republic of Korea. It is the anniversary of the day in 1950 when South Korean forces broke through the 38th parallel during the Korean War. no yes no
National Foundation Day 개천절(開天節) Gaecheonjeol October 3 The day celebrates the foundation of Gojoseon, the first state of the Korean nation. According to the Samguk Yusa, Dangun founded Gojoseon on the 3rd day of 10th lunar month, 2333 BC. Today, South Koreans celebrate their national foundation on October 3 according to the Gregorian calendar, for convenience sake. Gaecheonjeol means "Heaven-opened Day". yes yes yes
Hangul Day 한글날 Hangeullal October 9 The day commemorates the invention (1443) and the proclamation (1446) of hangul, the native alphabet of the Korean language. King Sejong the Great, inventor of hangul, is one of the most honored rulers in Korean history. yes yes yes
Christmas 기독탄신일(基督誕辰日) Gidoktansinil December 25 Commonly called Seongtanjeol (성탄절,聖誕節), especially among Korean Catholics. The Korean word jeol (절,節) means 'holiday' or 'festival', and is only used for National Celebration Days in South Korean law. The words il (일,日) and nal (날) mean 'day' and are used for the names of general commemoration days. no no yes

National Celebration Days[edit]

These days celebrate events considered joyous to Korea. In the beginning, Independence Declaration Day (March 1) was first stipulated in 1946.[1] After the establishment of the Government of the Republic of Korea in 1948, four major National Celebration Days (Independence Declaration Day, Constitution Day, Liberation Day, National Foundation Day) were provided by "The Law Concerning the National Celebration Days" (국경일에관한법률)[2] in 1949. In 2005, Hangul Day became the 5th National Celebration day.

National Flag Raising Days[edit]

All the National Celebration Days, Memorial Day (half staff), Armed Forces Day are provided by Article 8 of the "National Flag Law" (대한민국국기법 제8조).[3] On these days, the raising of the taegukgi at every house and along every roadside is promoted.

Public Days Off[edit]

They are provided by the "Ordinance Concerning the Holidays of Government and Public Offices" (관공서의 공휴일에 관한 규정).[4] This ordinance originally applied only to government and public offices, but most individual business offices also follow it.

Dates in Solar Calendar of Korean New Year's Day, Buddha's Birthday, and Midautumn Festival[edit]

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Korean New Year's Day February 19 February 8 January 28 February 16 February 5 January 25 February 12
Buddha's Birthday May 25 May 14 May 3 May 22 May 12 April 30 May 19
Midautumn Festival September 27 September 15 October 4 September 24 September 13 October 1 September 21

See also[edit]


External links[edit]