Public Holidays

Public holidays in South Korea 2021-2025

Despite the historical relations with China, the Gregorian calendar is dominant in South Korea. The Chinese lunar calendar has not yet completely lost its influence. The most important events in the Korean year are Seollal and Chuseok and are still calculated according to the lunar calendar. With about one third, the Christians in the country also have a considerable share, which is why Christmas is also one of the public holidays. Buddhists also make up about a quarter of the country's population. Thus, Buddha's birthday was also included as a public holiday.


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Non-movable holidays

Non-statutory holidays are written in gray.

holidaydate
New Year’s DayJan, 1st
Valentine's DayFeb, 14th
Independence Movement DayMar, 1st
Arbor DayApr, 5th
Labour DayMay, 1st
Children's dayMay, 5th
Parents' DayMay, 8th
Teacher's DayMay, 15th
Memorial DayJun, 6th
Constitution DayJul, 7th
Liberation DayAug, 15th
Armed Forces DayOct, 1st
National Foundation DayOct, 3rd
Hangeul DayOct, 9th
Christmas EveDec, 24th
Christmas DayDec, 25th
Boxing DayDec, 26th


Moving Holidays in South Korea

holiday20212022202320242025
Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day)Feb, 12thFeb, 1stJan, 22ndFeb, 10thJan, 29th
Seollal (Second day of Lunar New Year)Feb, 13thFeb, 2ndJan, 23rdFeb, 11thJan, 30th
Seollal (Third day of Lunar New Year)Feb, 14thFeb, 3rdJan, 24thFeb, 12thJan, 31st
Buddha's BirthdayMay, 19thMay, 8thMay, 26thMay, 15thMay, 5th
Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)Sep, 21stSep, 10thSep, 29thSep, 17thOct, 6th

Seollal - the Chinese New Year

Seollal is the 3-day New Year festival based on the lunar calendar. Nationwide it is much more important than the turn of the year based on the Gregorian calendar. Seollal is a predominantly traditional festival, which is celebrated in the circle of the family. On all 3 days you wear the fine wardrobe, honour your parents and grandparents and spend time with your children. A traditional meal on the first day of New Year is often "Tteokguk", a soup with rice cake.

Chuseok - the harvest festival

Chuseok is also calculated according to the lunar calendar and takes place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Usually in September or October. Since the 15th day of a lunar month is always a full moon day, the day is sometimes also called Hangawi, and thus moon festival. The actual translation of the word Chuseok is "autumn evening", Hangawi means "great middle".

On these 3 days lasting celebrations mainly the older family members and also already deceased ancestors are celebrated and honoured. Usually this is done in the house of the head of the family, usually the grandparents. It is accompanied by traffic jams throughout the country when whole families travel to the provinces.

Family Days

The traditionally large role of the family is quickly noticed by a European or American. The family has an enormous significance in South Korea. Chuseok and Seollal are much more family oriented than comparable holidays in the western world. In addition, the children's day on 5 May and the parents' day on 8 May are two more family-oriented holidays in the calendar. Parents' Day is not a work-free day. Unlike in many other countries fathers and mothers are celebrated together. There are no individual father or mother days.