Korea. Holidays – the website’s Forum

Holidays love all the people on earth. Koreans can appreciate them because, despite having, at first glance, a “sufficient” number of holidays (nine public holidays), at loss of them at weekends, they are not “tolerated” on weekdays, so half the holidays just “burns”. That is why the Koreans with special awe are for every holiday and try to make it beautiful, bright and fun. Korea is a country where holidays are valued and respected.

Public holidays:

1 January – New year;

March 1 – the Day of the independence Movement of Korea;

April 5 – arbor Day in South Korea;

May 5 is children’s Day in South Korea;


New Year – 1 January

In different periods of the history of Korea calendar holiday dates change. So, the New year festival was celebrated in the 10th month, then in the 11th, the Day of the winter solstice, and, finally, in the 1st lunar month. Korean sources allow us to establish that the beginning of the New year celebrations in the 1st month refers to the mid-seventh century In the chronicle “the Saga Samguk” there is evidence that in spring, on the 1st day of the 1st month of 651, the capital of Silla, in van Palace, in the hall Cowan, van took officials from new year greetings, and from that time was established the custom of greetings for the New year.

The New year celebration has long remained an official holiday van yard and anban. Official new year rites and rituals were carefully designed and regulated in accordance with the Confucian ideology in the Chinese model.

In the second half of the nineteenth century as evidenced by numerous travelers and missionaries, a meeting of the new year holiday in the first month of spring has had a wide circulation, and New year was a popular national holiday. The new year was celebrated in the 1st month of the lunar calendar and fell on the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox.

In the end of XIX century the New year was the most important holiday. It was celebrated universally in all layers of society. This celebration consisted of a complex set of rites, rituals, customs, reflecting both economic-labour practices of the people and syncretic religious ideas.

The new year’s holiday fell on the period when it was designated the first signs of nature awakening. After a cold winter the arrival of spring was welcomed as a celebration of the rebirth of nature and new life. Started preparing for the new annual agricultural cycle; it was related to hopes for favorable weather and bountiful harvest. It is the natural desire of prosperity and happiness for hundreds of generations was put into a strict binding rituals, often taking a magic-religious nature. According to common folk beliefs, the welfare and the happiness of man was dependent on supernatural forces – the forces of nature and fantastic creatures.

Therefore, a significant place was occupied by rituals aimed at the propitiation of hostile evil spirits and safeguarding the people from their pernicious influence, so that it was necessary to enlist the support and help of secret natural forces and spirits of ancestors.

The new year’s holiday was one of the longest – it lasted for 15-20 days. Classes in public places was stopped a few days before the New year and resumed not earlier than the 8th day of the 1st month. In 1895 the number of vacation days was reduced to four (the New year’s eve and the first three days of the 1st month). Everyone was eager to spend the holiday in a circle of the family.

A significant part of new year rituals fulfilled an important social role in the life of the family and the state. In the evening, on New year’s eve, Koreans exchanged a single nod – a greeting in the last year. In the morning, the first day of the New year, every Korean with a deep bow welcomed their parents, all the relatives, all older than yourself and all friends and acquaintances. This is the first greeting on the occasion of the New year was considered to be important in the relations between the Koreans, and not to observe this custom meant to quarrel with relatives and friends.

An important part of the holiday was the performance of sacrifice, memorial plaques in front of their parents and ancestors. Everyone made these sacrifices in accordance with their position and status. All homes with great care covered Banquet table with mandatory and traditional new year’s dishes, which often was attributed with magical properties.

In honor of the ancestors was covered with a special table where dishes are placed in a specific order: fish dishes – from the Eastern side, meat is from the West, fruits, rice dishes and soups – in the middle of the table, and other dishes placed on the remaining free space. In wealthy and noble families, the ceremony of sacrifice was usually led in family altars or Cumorah. In peasant families, which had their own temples, this ritual is conducted in front of memorial tablets, placed in one of the living rooms. The table sat in order of seniority. The head of the family was the Manager of the rite. It was poured into the chalice the wine and then to meat and vegetable dishes, put the chopsticks and the soup spoon. Then all the participants made three bows. After this ceremony, the sacrificial table was cleared, and was taken as a common meal.

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