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Is Christmas a big thing in Korea?

Is Christmas a big thing in Korea?


Christmas is an annual holiday celebrated by millions of people across the globe. However, different countries have unique ways of celebrating this festive period. Korea, being a country with its own culture and traditions, has its own way of celebrating Christmas. This article will highlight if Christmas is a big thing in Korea.

History of Christmas in Korea

The history of Christmas in Korea can be traced back to the late 19th century when Christian missionaries introduced Christianity to the country. Since then, Christmas has been celebrated as a religious holiday by Christians in Korea. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the holiday started gaining popularity and becoming more commercialized.

Commercialization of Christmas in Korea

In recent years, Christmas has become increasingly commercialized in Korea. Many corporations and businesses use the holiday as an opportunity to promote their products and services through various marketing campaigns. This has contributed significantly to the increased awareness and popularity of Christmas in Korea.

Celebration of Christmas in Korea

Despite the commercialization of Christmas, the majority of Koreans still celebrate the holiday as a religious occasion. On Christmas Eve, churches hold candlelight services, and families gather for traditional meals and exchange gifts. Furthermore, some Koreans also decorate their homes with Christmas trees and lights.

Christmas Food in Korea

Koreans have their own unique dishes that they prepare during the festive period. One of the most popular dishes is fried chicken, which is often enjoyed with beer. In addition, Koreans also enjoy eating cakes and other sweets during Christmas.

Gift Giving in Korea during Christmas

Gift-giving is an essential part of Christmas celebrations in Korea. However, it’s not just about giving gifts to family and friends but also to colleagues and business partners. The practice of giving gifts during Christmas is seen as a way to build stronger relationships.

Christmas Markets in Korea

Many cities in Korea hold Christmas markets during the festive period. These markets offer a variety of goods, including food, drinks, and decorations. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere and find unique gifts for their loved ones.

Korean Pop Culture and Christmas

Korean pop culture has also played a significant role in the popularization of Christmas in Korea. Many Korean dramas and movies feature Christmas as a theme, and K-pop artists release Christmas songs and albums during the festive period.

Comparison with Other Asian Countries

Compared to other Asian countries like Japan and China, where Christmas is not a national holiday and is not widely celebrated, Korea has embraced the holiday more enthusiastically. This could be due to the country’s strong Christian influence.

Impact of COVID-19 on Christmas in Korea

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of life globally, including how people celebrate holidays such as Christmas. In Korea, many churches have canceled their traditional candlelight services, and people have been advised to avoid large gatherings.


In conclusion, Christmas is a big thing in Korea, both as a religious holiday and a commercialized event. Koreans celebrate the holiday in their unique way while still embracing the traditional elements of the season. Regardless of how one chooses to celebrate it, the festive spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Korea.



Is Christmas big in South Korea?

In Korea, Christmas is recognized as a national holiday, allowing a majority of workers to take the day off and spend time with loved ones. This commonality aligns with how most countries observe the holiday globally.

What is the tradition of Christmas in South Korea?

South Korea also has a tradition of feasting during Christmas, although the food may not be the same as in other countries. Instead of fruit cake, cream sponge cake is served, and ice cream cakes are also popular. Additionally, steamed rice with fruit and traditional Korean dishes like kimchi, noodles, and beef bulgogi are staples of the holiday feasts.

Do Koreans care about Christmas?

For most Koreans, Christmas is not a religious holiday and is instead a time to gather and spend time with loved ones. It is not considered a significant traditional holiday that necessitates traveling to one’s hometown.

Do Koreans spend Christmas?

Korea is full of festive spirit during Christmas time, with magnificent light displays adorning the streets and malls, as well as an abundance of Christmas trees and holiday merchandise in shops. Cheonggyecheon Stream is particularly stunning with its beautiful lights during the season.

What is the biggest holiday in Korea?

Seollal and Chuseok are the two most significant traditional holidays in Korea, and they are celebrated by millions of Koreans who travel to their hometowns to spend time with their families.

What do Koreans call Christmas?

The Korean translations for “Happy/Merry Christmas” are “Meri krismas” (메리 크리스마스), “seongtanjeol jal bonaeyo” (성탄절 잘 보내요), and “Jeulgaeun krismas doeseyo” (즐거운 크리스마스 되세요). For Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus, they can also say “Sungtan chukhahaeyo” (성탄 축하해요).

Is Christmas a National Holiday in Korea?

Christmas is not a national holiday in Korea, unlike other Christian countries like the United States and Canada. However, it is still celebrated as a significant holiday by Christians and non-Christians alike. The Korean government recognizes Christmas as a cultural event, and many public places are decorated with Christmas trees and lights during the festive period.

Other Religious Holidays in Korea

Apart from Christmas, Korea also celebrates other religious holidays, including Seollal (Lunar New Year), Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), and Buddha’s Birthday. These holidays are significant for Koreans, and they usually spend time with their families and participate in traditional activities.

The Future of Christmas in Korea

Christmas is likely to continue to be a significant holiday in Korea, especially with the increasing influence of Western culture. However, it remains to be seen if it will become even more commercialized or if Koreans will continue to celebrate it as a religious occasion.

Environmental Concerns during Christmas

As with many countries that celebrate Christmas, Korea also faces environmental concerns during the holiday season. The use of plastic decorations, excessive electricity usage for lighting, and increased waste production are some of the issues that need to be addressed to make the holiday more sustainable.

Charitable Giving during Christmas

Christmas is also a time when many Koreans participate in charitable giving. Many organizations organize donation drives and volunteer opportunities during the festive period. This practice reflects the spirit of giving and sharing during the holiday season.


In conclusion, Christmas is an important holiday in Korea that has both religious and commercial significance. Koreans celebrate Christmas in their unique way while still embracing the traditional elements of the season. As with any country that celebrates Christmas, there are concerns about sustainability and excessive commercialization. Nonetheless, the festive spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Korea, and it is likely to continue to be an important holiday for years to come.

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