Koreans celebrate holidays according to dates on both the solar and lunar calendars.

Sol, or New Year's Day, is the biggest holiday of the year. People wear their best clothes, visit friends and wish each other well. Some people visit cemeteries to honour their ancestors. Another favourite holiday, Ch'usok, marks harvest time and is a time of thanksgiving. Koreans prepare special foods and feast during these holidays.

In ancient times, when the weather began to warm up, people observed Tano. They dressed in their best clothes, took a day off from work, ate good food and played games. Men played ssirum and the winner took home a bull.

Did you know?

January 1 is every Korean's birthday. On this day they add another year to their age, irrespective of their actual date of birth. Birthdays are special celebrations, particularly the first and the sixtieth ones.

Solar Calendar Holidays

January 1 New Year's Day
March 1 Independence Movement Day
April 5 Arbor Day
May 5 Children's Day
June 6 Memorial Day
July 17 Constitution Day
August 15 Liberation Day
October 3 National Foundation Day
December 25 Christmas Day

Lunar Calendar Holidays

Sol, New Year's Day late January or early February
Buddha's Birthday 8th day of the 4th month
Tano 5th day of the 5th month
Ch'usok, Thanksgiving 15th day of the 8th month