Christmas in South Korea – Quite a Good Number of Christians

South Korea carries a considerable number of Christians than the other countries in the Asian continent.

Therefore, Christmas is celebrated extensively as compared to other Asian countries like Japan and China.

Are there Christians in South Korea?

Statistics indicate that Christians are approximately 25-30% of the South Korean population, while about 7% are Buddhists or religion-less.

In South Korea, Christmas is considered a formal public holiday, unlike Japan which totally ignores the day of Christmas.

However, the 26th of December (Boxing day) is not considered as a holiday, and people go to school and work as usual.

There is an extensive official winter holiday during and after the New Year’s celebration.

The Churches have lights, and most of them have a shining red cross all around the year; thus, the Christmas lights blend in very well.

The people recognize the practice of going to church on the day of Christmas, and this has as well become common to the non-Christians.

Christmas Traditions

The commercial aspects of Christmas are as well recognized in South Korea as the retail stores decorate their stores.

Generally, you will find a fascinating array of lights in Seoul (the capital city) to the bridges over the famous Ham River.

Christmas Traditions in South Korea

Some individuals (more so the expats and Christians in South Korea) decorate their houses with Christmas trees and other decorations.

There is also the exchange of gifts, and the most common gift is money. Even though some people have adopted the practice of giving actual gifts, money is still a very mutual gift.

Also Read:  Gnome vs Dwarf: Difference and Comparison

The Korean Santa Claus can be spotted in blue and red, and he is recognized as Santa Grandfather (산타 할아버지) or ‘Santa Kullosu’ (산타 클로스).

Christmas Foods

The most common Christmas food is the Christmas cake, which is mostly a sponge cake that is full of cream and sourced from a local bakery.

Other snacks are also common, and you could get an ice cream cake from a store such as Baskin Robbins.

How to say Merry Christmas in South Korea

The Koreans refer Merry or happy Christmas as ‘Meri Krismas’ or ‘Jeulgaeun krismas doeseyo’ or ‘seongtanjeol jal bonaeyo’.

The Christians term it as sungtan chukhahaeyo, in recognition of the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.

What of Christmas in North Korea?

If you reside in the Democratic People’s republic of Korea (North Korea), Christmas is taken from a different perspective.

Even though Christianity is authoritatively allowed in North Korea, you could get killed for exhibiting Christianity in any manner.

Thus, the North Korean Christians have to celebrate Christmas in secret and worship in hide-outs.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas in South Korea

  1. Christmas is recognized as a national holiday in South Korea.
  2. South Koreans focus more on the religious representation of the Christmas holiday, rather than decorations and sharing of gifts.
  3. In Seoul, major stores and few public places, there are extravagant Christmas decorations and amazing lights on display.
  4. Money is the most common Christmas gift. It is popular for some South Koreans to exchange gifts on Christmas day.
  5. The Christmas cake is the most popular Christmas food. It is a sponge cake covered in cream. Some families could gather at home for their Christmas meal, while others could visit a restaurant to celebrate.


Unlike in Japan, Christmas is a public holiday in South Korea, but shools only have a short break, and there’s a long winter holiday around New Year. On Christmas Eve there are church services.

Also Read:  Pharisees vs Sadducees: Difference and Comparison

Giving gifts is common, but the most popular gift to give is money. You might see Santa around, but he might be wearing blue as well as red clothing and is also known as ”Santa Grandfather”.

Word Cloud for Christmas in South Korea

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in South Korea. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in South Korea

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

23 thoughts on “Christmas in South Korea – Quite a Good Number of Christians”

  1. I never realized how different Christmas traditions could be in other parts of the world. It’s quite fascinating.

  2. This article offers a comprehensive look into Christmas customs in South Korea. I found it to be very insightful.

  3. This article sheds light on a side of South Korea that many people are not aware of. It’s great to learn about different cultures.

  4. I don’t think the Christmas traditions in South Korea are as unique as some people are making them out to be.

  5. I appreciate the authors’ efforts to provide such an in-depth exploration of Christmas in South Korea.

  6. The descriptions are so vivid and well-presented. It feels like taking a trip to South Korea through words.

Comments are closed.

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!