Korean Holidays table

2011 calendar
2012 calendar
Korean Holidays
Name Date Remarks Day Off
New Year's Day
신정(新正)1
(Sinjeong)
January 1 The new years' day according to the Gregorian Calendar. Yes
Korean New Year's Day
설날(Seollal)
The 1st day of the 1st lunar month Also called "Seol(설)" or "Gujeong(구정, 舊正)", this is the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays, along with Chuseok. Yes(3days)
Independence(Declaration) Day
3.1절(三一節)
(Samiljeol)
March 1 Independence day commemorates the March 1st Independence Movement in 1919, when Korean people rose up peacefully against the Japanese Imperial colonialism. Korea had maintained a flourishing culture and independent state for thousands of years, until it succumbed to Japan in 1910 in the backdrop of worldwide colonialism. The movement led to the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in April 13, 1919, which was later continued to a fully empowered government after the end of World War II. Yes
Children's Day
어린이날(Eorininal)
May 5 Children's Day is instituted to celebrate childhood and promote children’s rights and happiness. In 1922, Jeong-hwan Bang and others declared May 1st as Children's Day, which was changed to May 5 in 1946. It became a public holiday in 1975. Yes
Buddha's Birthday
석가탄신일
(釋迦誕辰日)
(Seokgatansinil)
The 8th day of the 4th lunar month Also called "Bucheonnim Osinnal (부처님 오신 날)" or "Sawol Chopail (사월 초파일,四月初八日)". It commemorates Gautama Buddha's birth. Buddhism is not only one of the oldest but one of the biggest religions in Korea. Yes
Memorial Day
현충일(顯忠日)
(Hyeonchung-il)
June 6 Memorial Day commemorates men and women who served and died defending the nation as well as those who bravely carried out the independence movement during the 36 years of Japanese colonization. On this day, a national commemoration ceremony is held in Seoul National Cemetery. Yes
Constitution Day
제헌절(制憲節)
(Jeheonjeol)
July 17 The first Constitution of the Republic of Korea was declared in July 17, 1948. "Jeheon(제헌)" literally means Making of Constitution. No
Liberation Day
광복절(光復節)
(Gwangbokjeol)
August 15 Korean people were liberated from the Japanese colonization on August 15, 1945 at the end of the World War II, when Japan declared an unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces. On August 15, 1948 the first Republic of Korea was established. The word "Gwangbok(광복)" means "restoration of light". Yes
Korean Thanksgiving
추석(秋夕)
(Chuseok)
The 15th day of the 8th lunar month Also called "Han-gawi (한가위)" it is the Harvest Festival where Koreans thank the first rice harvest of the year. As with many Asian nations, rice is the main diet for Koreans. Together with Seollal, it is one of the biggest holidays. Farmers pay tribute to ancestors for good harvest; families and relatives meet and celebrate the holidays. Many visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of traditional food, which invariably create traffic jams of epic proportion for a few days. Yes(3days)
Armed Forces Day
국군(國軍)의 날
(Gukgunuinal)
October 1 Armed Forces Day recognizes, venerates, and honors the military forces of the Republic of Korea, for their services. No
National Foundation Day
개천절(開天節)
(Gaecheonjeol)
October 3 Korean history goes back to thousands of years, and the first state in historical records is called Gojoseon, according to Samguk Yusa, a thousand year old history book. The founder of the nation is Dangun, a son of a god and a bear-woman. Gojoseon is deemd to have been founded on the 3rd day of 10th lunar month, 2333 BCE. Koreans celebrate their national foundation on October 3 according to the solar calendar, for convenience sake. "Gaecheonjeol(개천절)" literally means "The day when heaven opened up". Yes
Hangul Day
한글날
(Hangeullal)
October 9 Hangul Day commemorates the invention (1443) and the proclamation (1446) of Hangul, the native phonetic writing system, much like western alphabet, that was planned and created specifically for the Korean language. The current version consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels, which can be combined to form tens of thousands of syllables. It was the strong will of King Sejong the Great, according to history, that created Hangul through some 30 years of research by dozens of high scholars including Sejong himself. Koreans are proud that Hangul is a most scientific and versatile form of phonetic alphabet system that also allows extremely simple computerization. Curiously, the actual form of Hangul looks syllabic, for vowels and consonants are typically combined into units of syllables. No
Christmas Day
기독탄신일
(基督誕辰日)
(Gidoktansinil)
December 25 Christmas, like many nations in the world, is also widely observed in Korea. Also called "Seongtanjeol (성탄절, 聖誕節)" in Korean (especially among Christians), the official Korean name fixed by law is "Gidoktansinil"2. This day is to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. Christianity is the one of two major religions, along with Buddhism, in Korea. Yes

footnotes
1 This is not a legal name. The legal name is simply "January 1"
2 The Sino-Korean word "jeol (절,節)' means 'the great holiday', and is only used for National Celebration Days in South Korean law.
The word "il (일,日)" is for the names of general commemoration days.