If you live and work in Korea as an English teacher or otherwise, you want to know when you are going to have time off of your job. Below is a list of all of the Korean holidays for 2019, including ‘red days’, as well as all of the fun, ‘corporate’ Korean holidays.
While Korea follows the solar calendar, they still celebrate holidays that work around the lunar calendar, but these differ in length in comparison to how they are celebrated in Western countries.
The 14th-of-the-month holidays were essentially created by companies to ‘cash in’ on gimmicky ideas such as ‘calendar day’ and ‘Peppero Day’.
- Korean Holidays in January 2019
- Korean Holidays in February 2019
- Korean Holidays in March 2019
- Korean Holidays in April 2019
- Korean Holidays in May 2019
- Korean Holidays in June 2019
- Korean Holidays in July 2019
- Korean Holidays in August 2019
- Korean Holidays in September 2019
- Korean Holidays in October 2019
- Korean Holidays in November 2019
- Korean Holidays in December 2019
Korean Holidays in January 2019
January 1st: New Year’s Day
The proper name for this holiday is ‘Shin Jung’, which means ‘New Year’.
January 14th: Diary Day
What it means: A commercial holiday where the significance of ‘starting the new year properly’ by planning through a diary.
Korean Holidays in February 2019
February 4th-6th: Seolnal Lunar New Year
Korea follows the Lunar Calendar, they celebrate the Lunar New Year which is also referred to as Chinese New Years. However, the proper name in Korean for this holiday is ‘Gu Jung’, which means ‘New Year’.
February 14th: Valentine’s Day
What it means: Not what you think! Men luck out on this holiday in Korea as they don’t have to remember it! Instead, women buy men chocolate and gifts on this date, which is to be outdone by the man for White Day that happens one month later…a date that the man really really should not forget!
Korean Holidays in March 2019
March 1st: Korean Independent Movement Day
What it means: This day is to celebrate one of the most peaceful movements in human history. More than 50,000 Koreans perished to make this day possible.
March 3rd: Samgyupsal Day
What it means: ‘Sam’ is 3 in Korean, so the 3rd day of the 3rd month is celebrated by eating ‘samgyup sal’ which means ‘3 layers of meat’.
March 14th: White Day (not official holiday)
What it means: This is essentially Valentine’s Day for women. This is the day the men will buy chocolates, jewelry or other gifts for their girlfriend. These gifts MUST outdo the gifts that were given to them on Valentine’s Day!
Korean Holidays in April 2019
April 14th: Black Day
What it means: The saddest day on the calendar :(. This is the day that single people ‘celebrate’. The common thing to do if you are single on this day is to eat ja jang myun (black noodles).
Korean Holidays in May 2019
May 5th: Children’s Day
What it means: A celebration of children all over the country. This holiday was created in 1923 by Bang Jung Whan who wanted to draw attention to children’s rights whereas they would be restricted from things like labor and getting married at a young age. He fought for their rights to go to school and learn and essentially just concentrate on being kids.
May 8th: Parent’s Day
What it means: A celebration of parents. Carnations are given to moms and dads all over Korea.
May 12th: Buddha’s Birthday
There are hundreds of thousands of practicing Buddhists in Korea, making it the 3rd most celebrated religion in the country.
May 14th: Rose Day
What it means: Men need to buy roses for their girlfriend. When you go out to the bars or restaurants, you will see ‘rose men’. This day is significant as it resembles the first day of a new relationship. If you make it to the 100 day mark, you will then be able to give your new boyfriend/girlfriend a silver ring to solidify your relationship.
May 15th: Teachers’ Day
What it means: A celebration of teachers. Usually a day where the students have an easy day at school. Teacher presents, etc. This day falls in May, which is ‘family month’, as teachers are seen and respected as family.
Korean Holidays in June 2019
June 6th: Memorial Day
What it means: A day of celebration of the 400,000 Korean soldiers that died in the Korean war from 1950-53.
June 14th: Kiss Day
What it means: A day to kiss your significant other. Or not, if you don’t have a significant other!
Korean Holidays in July 2019
July 14th: Silver Day
What it means: Couples exchange a silver ring to each other on this day as a way to celebrate their first 100 days together. Rose Day is exactly 100 days before this day.
Korean Holidays in August 2019
August 14th: Green Day
What it means: This day is the hottest day in Korea, so it is a day where Koreans will hike up a mountain to experience nature and also get away from the hot sun under a tree.
August 15th: Korean Independence Day (Liberation Day)
What it means: This day is to celebrate one of the most peaceful days in Korean history.
Korean Holidays in September 2019
September 12th-14th: Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)
What it means: The celebration of the harvest where you will see the fullest moon of the year. This is Korea’s second largest holiday next to Seolnal (Lunar New Year)
September 14th: Photo Day
What it means: Another commercial holiday! Nice weather, not too hot or too cool, makes it a perfect day to go out and take pictures…of course with your phone :).
Korean Holidays in October 2019
October 3rd: National Foundation Day (Kae Chun Jeol)
What it means: This day is to celebrate the first ancient Korean country that was created in B.C. 2333. This is the first written evidence of Korea as a country.
October 9th: Hangul Day
What it means: This day is a celebration of the creation of Hangul, the phonetic Korean language. Created by King Sae Jong, the written language was created so that the ‘wise man could learn it in the morning and a fool can learn by the end of the day’.
October 14th: Wine Day
What it means: A commercial holiday created by wine makers in Korea…duh!
Korean Holidays in November 2019
November 11th: Peppero Day
What it means: A commercial holiday where you exchange ‘Pepperos’, which are chocolate sticks that resemble 11-11 when you put them together.
November 14th: Movie Day
What it means: The weather is now getting a bit chilly outside so going to watch a movie is the best thing to do on this day.
Korean Holidays in December 2019
December 14th: Hug Day
What it means: A reason to give your loved ones a big hug!
December 25th: Christmas day
What it means: Not much to Koreans!
So those are the Korean holidays for 2019! Now that you know when they are, make sure to start getting your plans together, as most Koreans do this well in advance, so tickets will be scarce if you wait too long!