Skip to content

What is National Children’s Day in Korea?

National Children’s Day in Korea is a public holiday all about celebrating children. Most parents get a day off work and schools are closed. The goal of this special day is to spend time together as a family without the busy pressures of work and studying getting in the way.

When is National Children’s Day in Korea?

In Korean, it’s called 어린이날 and it is celebrated on May 5th every year. The first official celebration was back in the 1970s. Initially it was on May 1st but it moved to the 5th to separate it from Labour Day.

What do people do on National Children’s Day?

Parents often try to do special activities with their kids on this holiday. This can mean going somewhere fun and exciting as a family or getting special treats to eat. As long as you’re together, there aren’t really any wrong choices!

Amusement Parks

Amusement parks are very popular destinations on May 5th. If you’re a tourist, you might want to plan your visit to Lotte World for another day, because it’s sure to be crowded on Children’s Day!

Expect a lot of people if you go to Lotte World on National Children's Day in Korea!
The line-ups may be a bit long

There’s a good reason for the amusement parks to be so packed though. It’s a great way to have a lot of fun. Lotte World in particular has so many rides to choose from (although some of them look too scary for me; I’m looking at YOU Gyro-Drop!).

Parks for picnics and games

You will also see a lot of families at nearby parks. Having a family 소풍 – picnic – is a very popular activity. In between eating, you’ll find kids and their parents flying kites or playing together.

Mmm, let's eat some kimbap! Picnics are popular on National Children's Day
Kimbap is probably one of the most popular Korean picnic foods

Families can choose to bring their own picnic food with them from home, or they can pick up everything they need at any nearby 편의점 (convenience store).

Visiting the zoo

If parents aren’t braving the roller coasters at an amusement park or sharing snacks with the kids in the park, they may be checking out the local zoo.

National Children's Day is often celebrated by heading to the zoo
The zoo is a popular family spot on National Children’s Day (Photo from Seoul Zoo website)

Zoos have become a very sensitive topic in many places worldwide. They are not always kind places for animals. I have read that the Seoul Zoo values conservation efforts greatly. For kids, a zoo can be a place to learn about animals and their habitats.

So many options for National Children’s Day

Of course, the amusement parks, picnics in the park, and visits to the zoo are only a few of the most popular activities. There are certainly many other ways to celebrate National Children’s Day in Korea. Many parents will take their children on hikes, sightseeing trips, or to see a baseball game. Instead of a picnic, it might be grabbing some delicious street food on the go. You could even spend part of the day on an outing and then order delivery food to eat at home while you watch a show or movie as a family.

You can go to Jamsil Stadium on National Children's Day if there's a game - what a fun way to celebrate!
You can head to 잠실 야구장 / Jamsil Stadium if there’s a game that day

At the end of the day, the main goal for National Children’s Day is to have a dedicated day for parents and their kids to connect and have a lot of fun. With no work or school to get in the way, as long as families are having fun together, that’s the most important thing!

Parents’ Day

As a side note, kids are not the only ones to be celebrated. In Korea, Parents’ Day comes around a few days later. On May 8th, 어버이날 (Parents’ Day), kids will honour their mother and father. Traditionally they will gift their parents with carnations, which can be purchased at many convenience stores at that time of year.

It’s not a public holiday like National Children’s Day is, but it’s still a nice way for kids to say thank you to their 엄마 & 아빠 (mom and dad). As a Canadian who is used to a day for mom in May and another one for dad in June, I kind of like the idea of a joint day instead of a separate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

How would you celebrate National Children’s Day?

Which activity would you be most likely to choose if you were celebrating National Children’s Day in Korea? While I think the amusement park sounds the most fun, the crowds might be too much for me. In that case, I think that a cozy picnic in a park along the Han River sounds perfect to me!

What about you? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *