|National Holidays of Korea|
|All the people of South Korea celebrate their national holidays which have unique meaning and involve unique events and traditions. During the holiday time, government offices, schools, most companies, and banks are all closed. So the holidays are family together time too. Moreover, during the days of , the national flag of South Korea (Taegeuk-ki) is flown by the Koreans across the country.
New Year's Day (January 1-2): Koreans celebrate both the solar new year and the lunar yew year. The first two days of the new year, called Sin-jeong in Korean, are celebrated by most Koreans. They put on their best clothes, usually Han-bok, and the family younger members bow to their older members such as grandparents and parents as a reaffirmation of family ties. They also eat their traditional foods and play their traditional games. They ring the bell 33 times at Bosin-gak of Jong-ro at the moment when the day turns to the New Year (midnight on December 31st).
Lunar New Year's Day (Lunar January 1): Lunar New Year's Day, called Gu-jeong or Seol-nal in Korean, is much more significant than the solar New Year's Day. It is celebrated in a similar way to the solar's but on a much greater scale. The day before and after the first day of the first lunar moon are also holidays, for a total of three days off. At this time, most Koreans visit their hometown, making the highways jammed, to gather with their entire family and to pay respects at their ancestors' graves. This is the second most important holiday after "Chusok" in Korea.
Independence Movement Day (March 1): This day, called Samil-jeol in Korean, commemorates the Declaration of Independence proclaimed on March 1, 1919 while under Japanese colonization, by announcing Korea's declaration from Japanese colonialism at Tapgol Park. The ceremony features an annual reading of the Korean Proclamation of Independence.
Arbor Day (April 5): The Korean government proclaimed Arbor Day on June 15, 1970 for restoring the devastated forests resulted from the Korean War. During this time, called Sikmok-il in Korean, all the Koreans plant trees and flowers and clean up the nearby hilltops and mountain areas while respecting nature and the environment. The establishment of Arbor Day enables the mountainous regions covering more than 70% of the Korean landscape to be filled with lush forests.
Buddha's Birthday (Lunar April 8): The celebration of Buddha's birthday, called Chopa-il in Korean, occurs on the 8th day of 4th lunar month and this usually falls in May of the solar calendar. Memorial events are performed at many Buddhist temples across the country and, in the evening, Buddhist monks light colorful lanterns and hold parades carrying these lanterns.
Children's Day (May 5): Children's day, called Eorinee-nal in Korean, represents a day of celebration for both young and old children. The day was founded by a Korean children's writer, Bang Jeong-Hwan, in 1923 as a way to cherish the children's right and to encourage their happiness and national pride. Parks, museums, zoos, and theaters become crowded with families enjoying the holiday. In addition, many cities have parades and public activities to celebrate the Children's Day.
Memorial Day (June 6): June 6 of the year, called Hyunchung-il in Korean, denotes the day set aside for people to remember and pray for those who dedicated their lives to the country. People seek to commemorate their loyalty, so commemorative memorial services are held in the National Cemeteries and the whole nation pays a one-minute silent tribute while a siren blows at 10:00 in the morning of the day.
Constitution Day (July 17): This day, called Jeheon-jeol in Korean, commemorates the proclamation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea on July 17, 1948. During this day, various celebrations and memorials are held to show respect for the constitution, to allow meditation on the spirit of democracy, and to recognize the cornerstone of the new republic.
Liberation Day (August 15): This day, called Gwangbok-jeol in Korean, commemorates not only the independence of Korea from Japan on August 15, 1945 but also the establishment of the government, the Republic of Korea, on August 15, 1948.
Harvest Moon Festival (Lunar August 15): The full harvest moon festival occurs on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month with the day before and after also holidays. These days are called Chuseok or Hangawi meaning harvest moon festival and also Jungchu-jeol meaning mid-autumn festival. As the most important of all Korean holidays, family members pay respect to their living relatives and also visit their ancestors' graves, similar to the lunar new year holidays. Chuseok is similar to the American Thanksgiving holidays in that people give thanks for the harvesting of the crops during this time.
National Foundation Day (October 3): This day, called Gaecheon-jeol in Korean, commemorates the foundation of Go-Choseon. According to Korean legend, the first Korean kingdom established by Dangun in 2,333 B.C. During this time, people feel nationalistic pride with over 5,000 year history of Korea. A simple ceremony is held on the alter called Chamseong-dan at the top of Mani-san, Ganghwa-do, to offer thanks to heaven.
Christmas Day (December 25): As in many countries around the world, Christmas is observed as a national holiday in Korea, too. During this time, celebration events are held in churches throughout the country.
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There is more information of Koran Cultural Festivals, Ceremonies-Festivals, & Annual Events.
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Local Festivals in Korea
Ministry of Culture & Tourism
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