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Do they celebrate Christmas in South Korea?


South Korea is a country that has a rich cultural heritage and traditions that are unique to its people. Many people wonder if Christmas is celebrated in South Korea, given that it is not a Christian-majority country. In this article, we will explore the topic of Christmas in South Korea and discover how this festival is celebrated in the country.

History of Christmas in South Korea

Christmas was first introduced to South Korea by Christian missionaries in the late 19th century. Initially, it was only celebrated by Christians, but over time, it has become a popular holiday for non-Christians as well. Today, Christmas is widely celebrated in South Korea, although it is not an official public holiday.

How do Koreans celebrate Christmas?

Koreans celebrate Christmas in their own unique way. While it is not as big of a holiday as it is in Western countries, many Koreans exchange gifts and attend church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Some families also decorate their homes with Christmas lights and decorations.

Traditional Korean elements in Christmas celebrations

Despite being a Western holiday, South Koreans have added their own traditional elements to Christmas celebrations. For instance, many Koreans enjoy eating fried chicken and cake on Christmas day. Some people also participate in a tradition called “Gidoktak,” where they play games and exchange gifts with friends and family.

The impact of K-pop on Christmas celebrations

Korean pop music, or K-pop as it is commonly known, has become a global phenomenon over the past decade. K-pop stars often release special Christmas albums and perform at special concerts during the holiday season. This has contributed to the growing popularity of Christmas in South Korea.

The role of commercialization in Christmas celebrations

Like many other countries, commercialization has played a significant role in the way Christmas is celebrated in South Korea. Retail stores and shopping malls are adorned with Christmas decorations, and many businesses offer special discounts and promotions during the holiday season.

Challenges faced by Christians in South Korea

While Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday in South Korea, Christians still face challenges in expressing their faith openly. South Korea has a history of religious persecution, and many Christians feel that they are not fully accepted by society.

Alternative winter activities in South Korea

For those who do not celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of alternative winter activities to enjoy in South Korea. Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating are all popular winter sports, and there are many festivals and markets to visit during the holiday season.

The future of Christmas in South Korea

As South Korea continues to modernize, it is likely that Christmas will become an even more popular holiday in the country. However, it remains to be seen whether it will lose its unique Korean elements or if it will continue to evolve into something new.


In conclusion, while Christmas is not an official public holiday in South Korea, it is still widely celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians. The unique Korean elements that have been added to the holiday make it a fascinating cultural experience for visitors to the country.


1. “Christmas in South Korea.” Wikipedia.
2. “How Koreans celebrate Christmas.” The Korea Times.
3. “South Koreans embrace Christmas as holiday tradition.” Reuters.
4. “K-pop stars release Christmas albums.” Billboard.

Is Christmas a holiday in South Korea?

Like many other countries, Christmas is recognized as a national holiday in Korea. To commemorate the holiday, people can see Christmas trees and lights all throughout the country.

What is the traditional Christmas in South Korea?

In Korea, Christmas is observed as a public holiday on December 25 just like in other countries. As per the law, work is suspended and most people enjoy a day off. People exchange greetings saying Sung Tang Chuk Ha, which means Merry Christmas.

What do Koreans eat during Christmas?

In Korea, Christmas is a significant holiday for families, and they often enjoy traditional dishes like bulgogi, japchae, and kimchi. During Korean New Year, after paying respects to ancestors, families and friends gather for a special dinner.

What do Koreans do at Christmas?

In Korea, Christmas is a festive and bright time of year, with large light displays on buildings and streets, extravagant Christmas trees, and stores selling holiday goods. The Cheonggyecheon Stream is particularly beautiful during this time, with dazzling lights adding to the holiday cheer.

How long is Korean Christmas break?

In South Korea, schools close for major public holidays and have winter vacation from mid-December to the end of January, with spring vacation starting in late February. To get the most up-to-date information on specific school schedules, it is recommended to check their individual websites.

What is a fun fact about Christmas in South Korea?

South Korea recognizes Christmas as a national holiday, unlike Japan. As a result, people have the day off from work and school, but return on December 26th. The country also has a longer winter break during the new year. Churches are adorned with lights, and many have a bright red neon cross on display all year round.

5. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected Christmas celebrations in South Korea. In 2020, many people opted to stay home and celebrate with their immediate family rather than attending large gatherings or events. Churches also had to adjust their services to comply with social distancing guidelines.

6. The popularity of Christmas in South Korea has also led to an increase in tourism during the holiday season. Many tourists visit the country to experience the unique Korean traditions and decorations that are associated with Christmas.

7. In recent years, there has been a growing movement among young Koreans to embrace their own traditional holidays and culture rather than adopting Western holidays like Christmas. This has led to debates about the role of Western cultural influence in South Korea.

8. Despite the challenges faced by Christians in South Korea, there are still many active Christian communities in the country. Some churches hold special events and services during the holiday season, and many people find comfort in coming together to celebrate their faith.

9. Overall, Christmas in South Korea is a fascinating cultural experience that combines Western traditions with unique Korean elements. Whether you are a Christian or not, there is something special about experiencing the holiday season in this vibrant and dynamic country.

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