Public holidays in South Korea
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
|Name||Date||Remarks||National Celebration Day||Flag Raising||Day Off|
|New Year's Day
|January 1||The day celebrates new year.||No||No||Yes|
|Korean New Year's Day
|lunar month1st day of 1st||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
|Independence (Declaration) Day
|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|
|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 (in Korean 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|
|lunar month8th day of 4th||Also called "Bucheonnim Osinnal (부처님 오신 날)" or "Sawol Chopail (사월 초파일,四月初八日). The birthday of the Gautama Buddha. In South Korea, Buddhism is the one of two major religions, along with Christianity.||No||No||Yes|
|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||
|July 17||The day celebrates the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea in 1948.||Yes||No|
|August 15||The day celebrates the national liberation from Imperial 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|
|Feast of the Assumption
|August 15||The day celebrates the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, as well as the liberation of the Korean comfort women.||Yes||Yes|
|lunar month15th day of 8th||Also called "Han-gawi (한가위)". Korean traditional Harvest Festival. With Seollal, it is one of the most important Korean traditional holidays. As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food.||No||No||Yes
|Armed Forces Day
|October 1||The day recognizes, venerates, and honors the military forces of the Republic of Korea. In 1950, during the Korean War, South Korean Forces broke through the 38th parallel on October 1.||No||No|
|National Foundation Day
|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 BCE. Today, South Koreans celebrate their national foundation on October 3 according to the solar calendar, for convenience sake. "Gaecheonjeol" means "Heaven-opened Day".||Yes||Yes|
|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|
|December 25||Christmas is commonly called "Seongtanjeol (성탄절,聖誕節)" in Korean (especially among Korean Catholics), but the official Korean name fixed by law is "Gidoktansinil"2. In South Korea, Christianity is the one of two major religions, along with Buddhism.||No||No||Yes|
1 This is not a legal name. The legal name is simply "January 1"
National Celebration Days
These days celebrate events considered joyous to Korea. In the beginning, Independence Declaration Day (March 1) was first stipulated in 1946. 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) in 1949. In 2005, Hangul Day became the 5th National Celebration day.
National Flag Raising Days
All the National Celebration Days, Memorial Day (half staff), Armed Forces Day are provided by Article 8 of the "National Flag Law" (대한민국국기법 제8조). On these days, the raising of the taegukgi at every house and along every roadside is promoted.
Public Days Off
They are provided by the "Ordinance Concerning the Holidays of Government and Public Offices" (관공서의 공휴일에 관한 규정). 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
|Korean New Year's Day||January 31||February 19||February 8||January 28||February 16||February 5||January 25|
|Buddha's Birthday||May 6||May 25||May 14||May 3||May 22||May 12||April 30|
|Midautumn Festival||September 8||September 27||September 15||October 4||September 24||September 13||October 1|
- Korean public holidays - history and search by year.
- Korean public holidays - Korea Tourism Organization