Korean calendar

The traditional Korean calendar is a lunisolar calendar. Like most traditional calendars of other East Asian countries, the Korean Calendar is mainly derived from the Chinese calendar[1][2]. Dates are calculated from Korea's meridian (135th meridian east in modern time for South Korea), and observances and festivals are based in Korean culture.

The Gregorian calendar was officially adopted in 1896, but traditional holidays and age-reckoning for older generations are still based on the old calendar.[3] The biggest festival in Korea today is Seollal, the first day of the traditional Korean New Year. Other important festivals include Daeboreum also referred to as Boreumdaal (the first full moon), Dano (spring festival) and Chuseok (harvest moon festival), and Samjinnal (spring-opening festival). Other minor festivals include Yudu (summer festival), and Chilseok (monsoon festival).


The Korean calendar is derived from the Chinese calendar. The traditional calendar designated its years via Korean era names from 270 to 963, then Chinese era names with Korean era names were used a few times until 1894. In 1894 and 1895, the lunar calendar was used with years numbered from the foundation of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted on 1 January 1896, with Korean era name "Geonyang (건양 / 建陽, "adopting solar calendar")."

From 1945 until 1961 in South Korea, Gregorian calendar years were counted from the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BC (regarded as year one), the date of the legendary founding of Korea by Dangun, hence these Dangi (단기 / 檀紀) years were 4278 to 4294. This numbering was informally used with the Korean lunar calendar before 1945 but has only been occasionally used since 1961, and mostly in North Korea prior to 1997.

Although not being an official calendar, in South Korea, the traditional Korean calendar is still maintained by the government. The current version is based on China's Shixian calendar ("siheonnyeok 시헌력(時憲暦)" in Korean), which was in turn developed by Jesuit scholars. However, because the Korean calendar is now based on the moon's shape seen from Korea, occasionally the calendar diverges from the traditional Chinese calendar by one day, even though the underlying rule is the same. As a result, sometime the New Year's Day differ by one between the two countries, which last happened in 1997.[4]

In North Korea, the Juche calendar has been used since 1997 to number its years, based on the birth of the state's founder Kim Il-sung.


  • The Korean zodiac of 12 Earthly Branches (animals), which were used for counting hours and years;
  • Ten Heavenly Stems, which were combined with the 12 Earthly Branches to form a sixty-year cycle;
  • Twenty-four solar terms (jeolgi / 절기 / 節氣) in the year, spaced roughly 15 days apart;
  • Lunar months including leap months added every two or three years.


Note that traditional Korean calendar has no concept of "weekdays": the following are names of weekdays in the modern (Western) calendar.

English Hangul Hanja Transliteration Heavenly body
Monday 월요일 月曜日 woryoil Moon
Tuesday 화요일 火曜日 hwayoil Mars
Wednesday 수요일 水曜日 suyoil Mercury
Thursday 목요일 木曜日 mogyoil Jupiter
Friday 금요일 金曜日 geumyoil Venus
Saturday 토요일 土曜日 toyoil Saturn
Sunday 일요일 日曜日 iryoil Sun


In modern Korean language, the months of both the traditional lunisolar and Western calendars are named by prefixing Sino-Korean numerals to wol, the Sino-Korean word for "month". Traditionally, when speaking of individuals' birth months, the months of the lunisolar calendar were named by prefixing the native Korean name of the animal associated with each Earthly Branch in the Chinese zodiac to dal, the native Korean word for "month". Additionally, the first, eleventh, and twelfth months have other Korean names which are similar to traditional Chinese month names.[5] However, the other traditional Chinese month names, such as Xìngyuè ("apricot month") for the second month, are not used in Korean.

Modern name Traditional name Notes
Translation Hangul RR Translation Hangul RR
Month 1 1월 (일월) Ilwol Tiger Month 호랑이달 Horangidal
Primary Month 정월 (正月) Jeong-wol A loanword from Chinese Zhēngyuè
Month 2 2월 (이월) Iwol Rabbit Month 토끼달 Tokkidal
Month 3 3월 (삼월) Samwol Dragon Month 용달 Yongdal
Month 4 4월 (사월) Sawol Snake Month 뱀달 Baemdal
Month 5 5월 (오월) Owol Horse Month 말달 Maldal
Month 6 6월 (유월) Yuwol Sheep Month 양달 Yangdal
Month 7 7월 (칠월) Chilwol Monkey Month 원숭이달 Wonseung-idal
Month 8 8월 (팔월) Palwol Rooster Month 닭달 Dakdal
Month 9 9월 (구월) Guwol Dog Month 개달 Gaedal
Month 10 10월 (시월) Siwol Pig Month 돼지달 Dwaejidal
Month 11 11월 (십일월) Sibilwol Rat Month 쥐달 Jwidal
Winter Solstice Month 동짓달 Dongjitdal Compare Chinese Dōngyuè, "Winter Month"
Month 12 12월 (십이월) Sibiwol Ox Month 소달 Sodal
섣달 Seotdal Compare Chinese Làyuè, "preservation month"


The lunar calendar is used for the observation of traditional festivals, such as Seollal, Chuseok, and Buddha's Birthday. It is also used for jesa memorial services for ancestors and the marking of birthdays by older Koreans.

Traditional holidays

Festival Significance Events Date (lunar) Food
Seollal (설날) Lunar New Year's Day An ancestral service is offered before the grave of the ancestors, New Year's greetings are exchanged with family, relatives and neighbors; bows to elders (sebae, 세배, 歲拜), yut nori (윷놀이). Day 1 of Month 1 rice cake soup (tteokguk, 떡국), honey cakes (yakgwa, 약과, 藥果).
Daeboreum (대보름, 大보름) First full moon Greeting of the moon (dalmaji, 달맞이), kite-flying, burning talismans to ward off evil spirits (aengmagi taeugi, 액막이 태우기), bonfires (daljip taeugi, 달집 태우기) Day 15 of Month 1 rice boiled with five grains (ogokbap, 오곡밥, 五穀-), eating nuts, e.g. walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, chestnuts (bureom, 부럼), wine drinking (gwibalgisul)
Meoseumnal (머슴날) Festival for servants Housecleaning, coming of age ceremony, fishermen's shaman rite (yeongdeunggut, 영등굿) Day 1 of Month 2 stuffed pine-flavored rice cakes (songpyeon, 송편)
Samjinnal (삼짇날) Migrant swallows return Leg fighting, fortune telling Day 3 of Month 3 azalea wine (dugyeonju, 두견주, 杜鵑酒), azalea rice cake (dugyeon hwajeon, 두견화전, 杜鵑花煎)
Hansik (한식, 寒食) Beginning of farming season Visit to ancestral grave for offering rite, and cleaning and maintenance. Day 105 after winter solstice cold food only: mugwort cake (ssuktteok, 쑥떡), mugwort dumplings (ssukdanja, 쑥단자), mugwort soup (ssuktang, 쑥탕)
Chopail (釋迦誕生日) Buddha's birthday Lotus Lantern festival Day 8 of Month 4 rice cake (jjintteok, 찐떡), flower rice cake (hwajeon, 화전, 花煎)
Dano (단오, 端午, or 수릿날) Spring festival Washing hair with iris water, wrestling (ssireum, 씨름), swinging, giving fans as gifts Day 5 of Month 5 rice cake with herbs (surichwitteok, 수리취떡), herring soup (junchiguk, 준치국)
Yudu (유두, 流頭) Water greeting Water greeting, washing hair to wash away bad luck Day 15 of Month 6 Five coloured noodles (yudumyeon, 유두면), cooked rice cake (sudan, 수단, 水團)
Chilseok (칠석, 七夕) Meeting day of Gyeonwoo and Jiknyeo, in Korean folk tale Fabric weaving Day 7 of Month 7 wheat pancake (miljeonbyeong, 밀전병), steamed rice cake with red beans (sirutteok, 시루떡)
Baekjung (백중, 百中) Worship to Buddha Worship to Buddha Day 15 of Month 7 mixed rice cake (seoktanbyeong, 석탄병, 惜呑餠)
Chuseok (추석, 秋夕) Harvest festival Visit to ancestral grave, ssireum, offering earliest rice grain (olbyeosinmi, 올벼신미, --新味), circle dance (ganggang sullae, 강강술래) Day 15 of Month 8 pine-flavored rice cake stuffed with chestnuts, sesame or beans (songpyeon, 송편), taro soup (torantang, 토란탕)
Jungyangjeol (중양절, 重陽節) Migrant sparrows leave Celebrating autumn with poetry and painting, composing poetry, enjoying nature. Day 9 of Month 9 chrysanthemum pancake (gukhwajeon, 국화전, 菊花煎), fish roe (eoran, 어란, 魚卵), honey citron tea (yuja-cheong, 유자청, 柚子淸)
Dongji (동지, 冬至) Winter Solstice Rites to dispel bad spirits Around December 22 in the solar calendar red bean porridge with rice dumplings (patjuk, 팥죽)
Seotdal Geumeum (섣달그믐) New Year's Eve Staying up all night long with all doors open to receive ancestral spirits Last day of Month 12 mixed rice with vegetables (bibimbap, 비빔밥), bean powder rice cakes (injeolmi, 인절미), traditional biscuits (hangwa, 한과, 韓菓)

There are also many regional festivals celebrated according to the lunar calendar.

See also


  1. ^ Sohn, Ho-min (2006). Korean Language in Culture and Society. University of Hawaii Press. 86. ISBN 9780824826949. ...Korean calendars Calendars were adopted from China...
  2. ^ Reingold, Edward (2008). Calendrical Calculations. Cambridge University Press. 269. ISBN 9780521885409. ... Korea used the Chinese calendar for ...
  3. ^ Korean Holidays Archived 2012-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "한국 설날, 중국 설날 다른 해도 있다". joins.com. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018.
  5. ^ Sohn, Ho-min (2006). "Korean Terms for Calendar and Horary Signs, Holidays and Seasons". Korean Language and Culture in Society. University of Hawaii Press. p. 91–92. ISBN 9780824826949.
  • Pyeon, Prof. M. Y. The Folkloric Study of Chopail (Buddha's Birthday). Seoul: Minsokwon, 2002.
Adoption of the Gregorian calendar

The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most nations and societies, marking a change from their traditional (or old style) dating system to the modern (or new style) dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, and others did so at various dates between; however a number continue to use a different civil calendar. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world's most widely used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them.

The Gregorian calendar was decreed in 1582 by the papal bull Inter gravissimas by Pope Gregory XIII, to correct a divergence in the canonical date of the [northern] spring equinox from observed reality (due to an error in the Julian system) that affected the calculation of the date of Easter. Although Gregory's reform was enacted in the most solemn of forms available to the Church, the bull had no authority beyond the Catholic Church and the Papal States. The changes he was proposing were changes to the civil calendar, over which he had no formal authority. They required adoption by the civil authorities in each country to have legal effect.

The bull became the canon law of the Catholic Church in 1582, but it was not recognised by Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and a few others. Consequently, the days on which Easter and related holidays were celebrated by different Christian churches again diverged.


In Korea, bureom (부럼) is a collection of various kinds of nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, and gingko nuts. It is one of the most popular and traditional food during the Daeboreum (literally: "Great Full Moon"), a Korean holiday that celebrates the first full moon of the new year of the lunar Korean calendar. It is believed that to crack a nut in your mouth early in the morning on Daeboreum's day will help strengthen teeth, avoid allergies, prevent boils, and bring good luck for the coming year.


Chilseok is a Korean traditional festival which falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Korean lunisolar calendar, originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. Chilseok is a period where the heat starts to dwindle and the Wet season begins, and the rain that falls during this period is called Chilseok water. As pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons start to flourish during this period, people traditionally offered fried pumpkins to the Big dipper.

Chollima Steel Complex

The Ch'ŏllima Steel Complex in Kangch'ŏl-dong, Ch'ŏllima-guyŏk, Namp'o is one of North Korea's largest steel mills with an annual production capacity in the millions of tons. Originally opened during the Japanese colonial era as the Kangsŏn Steel Works, it was nationalised after the partition of Korea and has since been expanded several times.Currently, there are facilities for the production of steel and other alloys, steel rods, pipes and other metal products, and a facility for the production of large forgings and castings, along with a test and analysis centre. The production facility is equipped with electric furnaces, crushing and rolling mills, 6- and 10,000 tonne presses, oxygen separators and continuous mills. The complex also features metallurgical academies, cultural centres, childcare facilities, clinics, nightclubs and nursing homes. The complex was awarded the Order of Kim Il-sung.The facility is served by the Korean State Railway via Kangsŏn on the P'yŏngnam Line with extensive trackage within the complex.Kim Jong-Il visited the site in 2008 or Juche 97 according to the North Korean Calendar which starts on 1912 following the birth of Kim Il-Sung.


Chuseok (Hangul: 추석; Hanja: 秋夕; [tɕʰu.sʌk̚]), literally "Autumn eve", once known as hangawi (Hangul: 한가위; [han.ɡa.ɥi]; from archaic Korean for "the great middle (of autumn)"), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in South Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon. Chuseok is the biggest and most important traditional holiday of South Korea from the past because Korea was an agrarian society and considered the harvest season as a major event around the year. Like many other harvest festivals around the world, it is held around the autumn equinox, i.e. at the very end of summer or in early autumn.

As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food such as songpyeon (Hangul: 송편) and rice wines such as sindoju and dongdongju. There are two major traditions related to Chuseok: Charye (ancestor memorial services at home) and Seongmyo (family visit to the ancestral graves).

Civil calendar

The civil calendar is the calendar, or possibly one of several calendars, used within a country for civil, official or administrative purposes. The civil calendar is almost always used for general purposes by people and private organizations.

The most widespread civil calendar and de facto international standard is the Gregorian calendar. Although that calendar is associated with the Catholic Church and the papacy, it has been adopted, as a matter of convenience, by many secular and non-Christian countries although some countries use other calendars.

Cold Food Festival

The Cold Food or Hanshi Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday which developed from the local commemoration of the death of the Jin nobleman Jie Zhitui in the 7th century BC under the Zhou into an occasion across East Asia for the commemoration and veneration of ancestors by the 7th-century Tang. The lighting of fire was avoided, even for the preparation of food. This practice originally occurred at midwinter for as long as a month, but the hardship this involved led to repeated attempts to ban its observance. By the end of the Three Kingdoms Period (3rd century), it was limited to three days in the spring around the Qingming solar term. Under the Tang, ancestral observance was limited to the single day which is now celebrated as the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. The Cold Food Festival is not an official holiday in any country or region, but it continues to see some observance in China, Korea, and Vietnam.


Daeboreum (대보름; literally "Great Full Moon") is a Korean holiday that celebrates the first full moon of the new year of the lunar Korean calendar which is the Korean version of the First Full Moon Festival. This holiday is accompanied by many traditions.


Dangun (단군; 檀君; [tan.ɡun]) or Dangun Wanggeom (단군왕검; 檀君王儉; [tan.ɡun waŋ.ɡʌm]) was the legendary founder and god-king of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, around present-day Liaoning, Manchuria, and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. He is said to be the "grandson of heaven" and "son of a bear", and to have founded the kingdom in 2333 BC. The earliest recorded version of the Dangun legend appears in the 13th-century Samguk Yusa, which cites China's Book of Wei and Korea's lost historical record Gogi (고기, 古記).

Dano (Korean festival)

Dano(Hangul: 단오), also called Surit-nal (Hangul: 수릿날), is a Korean traditional holiday that falls on the 5th day of the fifth month of the lunar Korean calendar. It is an official holiday in North Korea and one of the major traditional holidays in South Korea. South Korea has retained several festivals related to the holiday, one of which is Gangneung Dano Festival (Hangul: 강릉단오제) designated by UNESCO as a "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".In the Mahan confederacy of ancient Korea, this was a day of spiritual rites, and enjoyment with song, dance, and wine. Traditionally, women washed their hair in water boiled with Sweet Flag (changpo (Hangul: 창포)), believed to make one's hair shiny. People wore blue and red clothes and dyed hairpins red with the iris roots. Men wore iris roots around their waist to ward off evil spirits. Herbs wet with dew on this morning were said to heal stomachaches and wounds. Traditional foods include surichitteok, ssuktteok, and other herb rice cakes.The persisting folk games of Dano are the swing, ssireum (Hangul: 씨름), stone battle game seokjeon and taekkyon (Hangul: 택견). The swing was a game played by women, while ssireum was a wrestling match among men. In addition, mask dance used to be popular among peasants due to its penchant for satirical lyrics flouting local aristocrats.

Day of Songun

The Day of Songun (Chosŏn'gŭl: 선군절; MR: Sŏn'gun-jŏl) is a public holiday in North Korea celebrated on 25 August annually to commemorate the beginning of Kim Jong-il's Songun (military-first) leadership in 1960.

In 2013, Kim Jong-un elevated the holiday to an official status on the North Korean calendar, on par with the Day of the Sun (birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung). Thus it became the holiday associated with Kim Jong-un, with his own birthday still missing from the official calendar. This has helped to further Kim Jong-un's charismatic rule. According to North Korea analyst Adam Cathcart, the purpose of the holiday is "to reinforce Kim Jong-un's legitimacy to rule, confirm the principle of very early succession and young leadership, and emphasize the preternatural military abilities of the sons in the Kim family."On the calendar, the 25 August holiday takes place after the Liberation Day (15 August) and before the Day of the Foundation of the Republic (인민정권_창건일) (9 September). Day of Songun is one of three days celebrating Kim Jong-il on the calendar, the other two being the Day of the Shining Star (his birth anniversary) and Generalissimo Day (commemorating his accession to the rank of Taewonsu).

Double Third Festival

The Double Third Festival (Chinese: 三月三; pinyin: sānyuèsān; Korean: 삼짇날; romaja: samjinnal) or Shangsi Festival (traditional Chinese: 上巳節; simplified Chinese: 上巳节; pinyin: shàngsìjié; Japanese: 上巳; rōmaji: jyōshi / jyōmi; Korean: 삼사; romaja: samsa) is an East Asian festival. The 2018 date is April 18.

Hanne Darboven

Hanne Darboven (29 April 1941 – 9 March 2009) was a German conceptual artist, best known for her large-scale minimalist installations consisting of handwritten tables of numbers.


Hwajeon (화전; 花煎), or flower cake is a small Korean pan-fried rice cake. It is made out of glutinous rice flour, honey and edible petals from seasonal flowers, such as rhododendron. It is eaten during the festivals of Samjinnal and Buddha's Birthday.

Index of Korea-related articles (K)

This is a partial list of Korea-related topics beginning with K. For Korean words starting with ㄱ, see also under G.

List of years in North Korea

This is a list of years in North Korea.

North Korean calendar

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea calendar, DPRK calendar, or Juche calendar (Korean pronunciation: [tɕutɕʰe]), named after the Juche ideology, is the system of year-numbering used in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Public holidays in North Korea

This is a list of public holidays in North Korea. See also the Korean calendar for a list of traditional holidays. As of 2017, the North Korean calendar has 71 official public holidays, including Sundays. In the past, North Koreans relied on rations provided by the state on public holidays for feasts. Recently, with marketization people are able to save up money and buy the goods they need.The Day of the Sun, the birthday of its founder and first leader Kim Il-sung, on 15 April is the most important holiday in the country. The second most important is the Day of the Shining Star on 16 February, the birthday of Kim Jong-il. As of 2019, Kim Jong-un's birthday is still not a public holiday. Other holidays of great importance are the Party Foundation Day (10 October) and the Day of the Foundation of the Republic (9 September). North Koreans often schedule their wedding days on important national holidays.North Korea regularly carries out missile and nuclear tests on such important anniversaries.


七夕 means "The Night of Sevens" in Chinese characters.

It may refer to:

Qixi Festival, a Chinese festival celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar

Chilseok, a Korean festival celebrated on the night of the seventh day of the seventh month of the Korean calendar

Tanabata, a Japanese star festival celebrated on July 7

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