Here is a list of 2017’s Public holidays in South Korea which are often know as Red Days or simply Days Off work. Sadly if a public holiday falls on a weekend it is NOT carried over onto the next workday, although some public schools and generous employers do give them. It’s unfortunate for most of us and this year we lose 2 days which fall on weekends (in 2016 there were 4 days).

This year the we have a nice spread of holidays until October. However again on the positive side Korean New Year (Seollal) this year give us a nice 4 day weekend at the end of January. Also the 2017 Chuseok break gives us a 7 day weekend!

Here Are The Dates For Your 2017 Diary’s

Sunday January 1st – New Years Day (신정)

Friday, Saturday & Sunday January 27th to 29th (Monday January 30th is also a Red Day on Most Calendars) Korean Lunar New Year or Seollal (설날)

Wednesday March 1st – Independence Movement Day (3.1절)

Wednesday May 3rdBuddha’s Birthday (석가탄신일)

Friday May 5th – Children’s Day (어린이날)

Tuesday June 6thMemorial Day (현충일)

Tuesday August 15thLiberation Day (광복절)

Tuesday October 3rdNational Foundation Day (개천절)

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday October 4th to 6thChuseok (추석) also known as Korean Thanksgiving or Harvest Festival

Monday October 9thHangul Day (한글날)

Monday December 25th – Christmas Day (크리스마스)


All this means that there are 13 official days off, red days or Public Holidays in South Korea this year plus election day (a few more than in 2016). We also have the amazing Chuseok Period which this year is sandwiched by 2 other holidays giving us a full week and national holidays (great for employees, not so much for employers).

Also often people are asked to work during on a public holiday and then take a day off at another time, this is really uncommon but perfectly legal (although not nice). Public Holidays are a requirement for government and public buildings, however private businesses are not bound to follow or observe them. May 4th is a sandwich day and so might be off for some and on for others.

Be warned that traveling the day before, on or the after day after a public holiday can be very busy and traffic jams fully booked buses, trains and even planes are common. Therefore book in advance to avoid disappointment.

One positive is that most shops, stores, restaurants, bars etc all open on public holidays in Korea and buses and subways operate on a similar schedule to a Sunday (although as already stated they can be very busy).

In regards to the 2017 South Korean Election Day (May 9th 2017), public schools, government offices, banks etc will all be closed. Other services a business will be open but maybe with reduced hours. Employees should be given time in order to vote, however the businesses aren’t required to close for the whole day. This could change depending other factors.

Other Key Days in 2017 (April 2017 Update)

May 1st is Labor Day in South Korea; it ISN’T an official National Holiday. Some businesses and schools close but it’s completely optional.
May 9th is Presidential Election Day; once again it isn’t a holiday. Employees should be given time to vote but businesses don’t have to close.

2017 Year of the Fire Rooster


Some spicy chicken should be on the 2017 Menu’s.


If you have any questions about public holidays / National Holidays / Red Days here in South Korea please feel free to let us know, have a great year in South Korea.

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