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Do Koreans celebrate Christmas?


Korea is a country that has a rich culture and history. It’s known for its unique traditions and customs, but do Koreans celebrate Christmas? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and delve into the reasons why some Koreans do celebrate Christmas.

History of Christmas in Korea

The history of Christmas in Korea is relatively new compared to other countries. It was introduced by Christian missionaries in the late 1800s. However, it wasn’t until after the Korean War that Christmas became more widely celebrated. Today, Christmas is a national holiday in South Korea, but not in North Korea.

Korean Traditions and Holidays

In Korea, there are many traditional holidays and celebrations, such as Lunar New Year and Chuseok. These holidays hold a significant cultural importance for Koreans, and they usually spend time with their families during these times. However, Christmas is not traditionally a Korean holiday.

Christianity in Korea

Christianity has been growing steadily in Korea since its introduction in the late 1800s. Today, Christianity is one of the main religions in Korea, with over 29% of the population identifying as Christian. As a result, many Koreans celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

Christmas Decorations in Korea

During the Christmas season, you can see many decorations around Korea. The streets are lined with lights, and you can see Christmas trees and other festive decorations in shops and homes. Some Koreans even decorate their homes with traditional Korean paper lanterns.

Christmas Food in Korea

Koreans love food, and during the Christmas season, there are many traditional Korean dishes that are enjoyed. However, some Koreans also enjoy Western-style food such as roasted turkey and ham during Christmas dinner.

The Commercialization of Christmas

Like in many other countries, Christmas has become commercialized in Korea. Many stores offer Christmas sales and promotions, and it’s not uncommon to see Santa Claus promoting products in advertisements.

Christmas Gift Giving in Korea

In Korea, gift-giving is an important part of many celebrations, including Christmas. It’s a way to show appreciation and love for the people in your life. However, gift-giving during Christmas is not as widespread as it is in Western countries.

Korean Christmas Traditions

Although Christmas is not a traditional Korean holiday, there are some Korean Christmas traditions that have emerged over time. One of these traditions is the practice of exchanging gifts with loved ones.

Christmas Church Services in Korea

For many Koreans who celebrate Christmas, attending church services is an essential part of the holiday. Churches in Korea hold special services and events during the Christmas season.

Public Celebrations of Christmas

In recent years, there have been more public celebrations of Christmas in Korea. For example, there are now Christmas markets and festivals held throughout the country.


So, do Koreans celebrate Christmas? The answer is yes, but it’s not as widespread as it is in other countries. For many Koreans, Christmas is a religious holiday, while for others, it’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the festive season. Regardless of how one celebrates, the spirit of giving and love that is associated with Christmas is universal.

Do Koreans give Christmas gifts?

In Korea, Christmas is not typically celebrated as a family holiday, so gift-giving is not as common. Few people exchange gifts with a large number of others or participate in group gift exchanges like White Elephant or Secret Santa.

What days do Koreans celebrate Christmas?

Koreans celebrate Christmas on December 25 as a public holiday, just like in other parts of the world. It is a typical holiday for them.

Does Korea have Christmas holidays?

Korea, like many other countries, recognizes Christmas as a national holiday. In order to celebrate the holiday season, people in Korea decorate their homes and public spaces with Christmas trees and lights.

What do Koreans eat at Christmas?

In Korea, Christmas is celebrated as a major family event with traditional dishes like bulgogi, japchae, and kimchi. Korean New Year is another occasion where people wear seolbim and honor their ancestors before having a dinner with loved ones.

What do Koreans call Christmas?

In Korea, approximately 30% of the population follows Christianity. Christmas, known as Sung Tan Jul, is a religious celebration of the birth of Christ and is given more importance than the commercial aspects of the holiday as seen in Western countries. Interestingly, Korea is the only East Asian nation where Christmas Day is a public holiday.

Do Koreans do Santa Claus?

Similar to in Western countries, Santa Claus is beloved by kids in Korea, where he is referred to as Grandpa Santa or Santa Kullusu/Santa Haraboji. He is seen as a kind-spirited character who brings happiness and distributes gifts during the holiday season.

It’s important to note that not all Koreans celebrate Christmas. For some, it may be just another day, while for others, it may clash with their religious beliefs or cultural traditions. In recent years, there has been some pushback against the commercialization of Christmas in Korea, with some Koreans feeling that it takes away from the true meaning of the holiday.

Another aspect of Christmas in Korea is the influence of K-pop culture. Many K-pop idols release Christmas-themed songs and albums during the holiday season, and fans often celebrate by attending concerts and events. Some Korean dramas also feature Christmas as a theme or setting, adding to the festive atmosphere.

While Christmas is not a traditional Korean holiday, its celebration in Korea reflects both the country’s growing religious diversity and its embrace of global culture. Whether it’s attending church services or enjoying a Christmas feast with loved ones, Koreans have found their own unique way to celebrate this holiday.

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