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What is the Korean version of Christmas?

What is the Korean version of Christmas?

1. Introduction: Explanation of the importance of Christmas in Korea and how it differs from other countries.

2. History of Christmas in Korea: Overview of how Christmas came to Korea and how it has evolved over the years.

3. Religious Traditions: Explanation of Christmas as a religious holiday in Korea and the role of Christianity in Korean society.

4. Secular Traditions: Explanation of how Christmas is celebrated as a secular holiday in Korea, including gift-giving and decorations.

5. Food Traditions: Description of traditional Korean dishes that are enjoyed during the Christmas season, such as fried chicken and strawberry cake.

6. Cultural Celebrations: Overview of cultural events and festivals that take place during the Christmas season in Korea, such as the Seoul Christmas Festival.

7. Family Traditions: Discussion of how families celebrate Christmas together in Korea, including visiting relatives and sharing meals.

8. Gift-Giving: Explanation of gift-giving traditions during the Christmas season, including popular gifts and etiquette surrounding gift-giving.

9. Public Displays: Overview of public displays and decorations that can be seen throughout the city during the Christmas season, such as light displays and giant Christmas trees.

10. Comparison to Western Traditions: Comparison of Korean Christmas traditions to those found in Western countries, including similarities and differences.

11. Conclusion: Summary of key points about Korean Christmas traditions and their significance to Korean culture.

12. Future Outlook: Discussion of how Korean Christmas traditions may continue to evolve and change in the future due to globalization and cultural exchange.


Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, and Korea is no exception. Although Christmas is not a national holiday in Korea, it is still widely celebrated as a day of giving and sharing among families and friends. However, the Korean version of Christmas has its own unique traditions and customs that differ from those found in Western countries. In this article, we will explore the origins and evolution of Christmas in Korea, as well as the different cultural and religious traditions associated with this holiday.

History of Christmas in Korea

The first mention of Christmas in Korea dates back to the late 19th century, when Christian missionaries began to introduce the holiday to Korean converts. At the time, Christmas was primarily a religious holiday celebrated by Christians, and it was not until later that it became a more secular holiday. Over time, Christmas has become more popular in Korea and is now celebrated by people of all religions.

Religious Traditions

For many Koreans, Christmas is still primarily a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Churches throughout Korea hold special services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which are attended by both Christians and non-Christians alike. These services often include carol singing, candlelight vigils, and sermons about the meaning of Christmas.

Secular Traditions

In addition to its religious significance, Christmas is also celebrated as a secular holiday in Korea. One of the most popular secular traditions associated with Christmas is gift-giving. Many Koreans exchange gifts with family members and friends during the holiday season, often giving practical items such as socks or cosmetics. Decorations such as lights and trees are also common during the Christmas season.

Food Traditions

Food is an important part of Korean culture, and it is no different during the Christmas season. One of the most popular foods during this time is fried chicken, which has become a staple of the Korean Christmas dinner. Other popular dishes include strawberry cake and hot chocolate. Many restaurants and cafes also offer special holiday menus during the Christmas season.

Cultural Celebrations

Koreans love to celebrate, and the Christmas season is no exception. There are many festivals and events that take place throughout Korea during the holiday season, including the Seoul Christmas Festival, which features live performances, food stalls, and a giant Christmas tree. Other events include Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, and light displays.

Family Traditions

Family is an important part of Korean culture, and this is especially true during the Christmas season. Many families gather together to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, sharing meals and exchanging gifts. It is also common for families to visit relatives who live far away during the holiday season.


Gift-giving is an important part of the Korean Christmas tradition. However, there are certain rules and etiquette that must be followed when giving and receiving gifts. For example, it is considered impolite to give a gift that is too expensive or extravagant. It is also customary to wrap gifts neatly and include a small note or card.

Public Displays

Cities throughout Korea are decorated with lights and other festive decorations during the Christmas season. One of the most well-known displays is the giant Christmas tree in front of City Hall in Seoul. Other public displays include light shows, street performances, and fireworks displays.

Comparison to Western Traditions

While there are many similarities between Korean and Western Christmas traditions, there are also some key differences. For example, in Korea, Christmas is not a national holiday, so schools and businesses remain open on December 25th. Additionally, while gift-giving is an important part of both traditions, Koreans tend to give more practical gifts than their Western counterparts.


In conclusion, the Korean version of Christmas is a unique blend of religious and secular traditions that reflect the importance of family and community in Korean culture. From gift-giving to food and cultural celebrations, Christmas in Korea is a time for sharing and coming together with loved ones.

Future Outlook

As Korea continues to globalize and become more connected to the rest of the world, it is likely that Christmas traditions will continue to evolve and change. However, the core values of family, community, and sharing will always remain at the heart of the Korean Christmas tradition.














In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the commercialization of Christmas in Korea. Some critics argue that the focus on gift-giving and consumerism has overshadowed the religious and cultural significance of the holiday. There have been calls to return to a more traditional celebration of Christmas that emphasizes community and family rather than material possessions.

Online Shopping

Like many other countries, online shopping has become increasingly popular in Korea during the Christmas season. Many people opt to do their shopping online rather than braving the crowded shopping centers. This trend has led to a rise in online sales and promotions during the holiday season.

Celebrity Culture

Korean celebrities also play a role in the Christmas season, often participating in charity events and performances. Many popular K-pop groups release special Christmas-themed albums and songs, which are enjoyed by fans throughout Korea and around the world.

Single Awareness Day

For those who are single or not in a relationship during the holiday season, there is a growing trend of celebrating “Single Awareness Day” on December 24th. This day is a chance for single people to celebrate their independence and enjoy time with friends rather than feeling left out during a holiday that is often associated with couples.

Christmas Eve vs. Christmas Day

In Korea, Christmas Eve is often seen as a more romantic holiday, while Christmas Day is focused on spending time with family. Couples may exchange gifts or go on dates on Christmas Eve, while families gather together for meals and celebrations on Christmas Day.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Korean version of Christmas is a unique blend of religious, cultural, and commercial traditions that reflect the values of Korean society. While there may be differences from other countries, the festive spirit and sense of community remain at the heart of the holiday season in Korea. As the world continues to change, it will be interesting to see how these traditions evolve and adapt to new cultural trends and influences.

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