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Korean Public Holidays 2019, South Korea

1 January (Tuesday) - New Year's Day (Sinjeong - 신정 1): Public Holiday*
The day celebrates international new year. Most venues, including most museums, etc. are closed.

4-6 February (Monday-Wednesday) - Korean Lunar New Year's Holiday (Seollal - 설날, aka Gujeong -구정): Public Holiday*
The first day of the lunar Korean calendar 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.  On the actual new year's day, 05 February, almost everything is closed, including most shopping, tourism and even some cultural and entertainment sites.

1 March (Friday) - Independence (Declaration) Day (Samiljeol - 3.1절): Public Holiday*
This day commemorates the March 1st Movement in 1919. It was a catalyst for the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea on April 13, 1919. A reading of the declaration takes place in a special ceremony at Tapgol Park in Seoul, where the document was first read to the public.

1 May (Wednesday) - Labor Day/International Workers' Day: Bank Holiday
While not a public holiday for all workers, banks, financial markets, offices may be closed.

5 + 6 May (Sunday, subsitute day Monday) - Children's Day (Eorininal - 어린이날): Public Holiday*
The day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. Begun in 1922, the date was changed from 1 May to 5 May in 1946 and became a public holiday in 1976.  In 2019, the 5th falls on a Sunday, so the next day Monday 06 May will be a 'day off'. 

8 May (Wednesday) - Parents' Day (Oppa-oi-nal - 어버이 날):  Observance
Children show their love and respect for their parents on this day. Parents’ Day is no longer a national holiday. Everything, including banks and government offices, are open as usual.

12 May (Sunday) - Buddha's Birthday (Seokgatansinil - 석가탄신일 aka as Bucheonnim Osinnal - 부처님 오신 날  or Sawol Chopail  - 사월 초파일):  Public Holiday*
The birthday of the Gautama Buddha. Special events are held on the day and often the weekend prior.
Banks and government offices are closed, but shopping and cultural venues are generally open with some offering special activities marking the day.

6 June (Thursday) - Memorial Day (Hyeonchung-il - 현충일): Public Holiday*
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. 

*17 July (Tuesday) - Constitution Day (Jeheonjeol - 제헌절): Observance
The day celebrates the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea in 1948. 

15 August (Thursday) - Liberation Day (Gwangbokjeol - 광복절): Public Holiday*
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". 

12-14 September (Thursday-Saturday) - Chuseok/Autumn (Harvest) Festival (Chuseok - 추석, aka Han-gawi - 한가위): Public Holiday*
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.  On Chuseok Day, 24 September, generally everything is closed, including shopping, entertainment, tourist and other such venues. (Click here for a list of some venues, shops, etc. that are open over the holiday). Holiday period extended one day in 2018 as one day falls on a weekend.

1 October (Tuesday) - Armed Forces Day (Gaecheonjeol - 개천절): Observance
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. 

3 October (Thursday) - National Foundation Day (Gaecheonjeol - 개천절): Public Holiday*
The day celebrates the foundation of Gojoseon, the first kingdom of the Korean nation. According to the Samguk Yusa, Dangun founded Gojoseon on the 3rd day of 10th lunar month, 2333 BC. Today, South Koreans celebrate their national foundation on October 3 according to the solar calendar, for reasons of convenience. "Gaecheonjeol" means "Heaven-opened Day".

9 October (Wednesday) - Hanguel Day (Hangeulnal - 한글날): Day off*
The day commemorates the invention (1443) and the proclamation (1446) of hangul, the native alphabet of the Korean language by King Sejong the Great. Hangul Day was reinstated as a national holiday in 2013.

25 December (Wednesday) - Christmas Day (official name Gidoktansinil - 기독탄신일 / unofficial name by many christians Seongtanjeol - 성탄절): Public Holiday*
This is not as big a holiday as Lunar New Year (Solleal) and many art, cultural, entertainment and shopping venues remain open.

*generally offices, schools, banks, financial markets and government offices are closed but not necessarily all shopping, tourism or entertainment venues.

NB:
2020 Lunar New Year: 
24-27 January (Friday-Monday)

 

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