In this article you will learn everything there is to know about Christmas in Korea.
Korea was not originally a Christian country. Unlike other Asian countries, Christmas is still a holiday in Korea today. Unlike in other parts of the world, Christmas is not celebrated with the family but with the boyfriend or girlfriend.
Korea and Christianity
Korea was traditionally a Confucian state and was strongly influenced by Buddhism. Then when did Christianity spread in Korea and when did Christmas become a holiday?
Christianity first spread from Europe to Korea in the late 19th century. After independence from Japan, Christmas was declared a holiday by the U.S. military after World War II.
After the Korean War in 1953, we were greatly influenced by America for political reasons. Since then, the number of Protestants has been increasing. Currently 20% of the inhabitants are Protestant, 8% are Catholic and 13% are Buddhist.
Christmas as a holiday in Korea
The December 25 is a holiday, but on December 24 you have to work normally. From early to late December, many stores or restaurants are decorated for Christmas. Protestants and Catholics also decorate their homes. You buy a plastic tree and decorate it with electric lights.
Although they are not Protestant or Catholic, parents decorate for their young children at home. When the children are asleep on the 24th, the parents place a gift next to them. Then the kids get it from Santa Claus when they get up on Christmas Day. It’s like an American movie. They even show American movies like “Kevin Alone at Home” and “the Sound of Music” on TV.
How Koreans spend Christmas
Of course Protestants and Catholics go to church at Christmas or on Christmas Day. However, most Koreans think that we should definitely spend the time at Christmas together with our boyfriend or girlfriend and not with our family.
We go away for Christmas with the boyfriend or girlfriend and get a gift, so many restaurants are open and the price is doubled. So young people are very sad when they spend Christmas at home alone, without a boyfriend or girlfriend.