Korean calendar

Korean calendar

The traditional Korean calendar is a lunisolar calendar which, like the traditional calendars of other East Asian countries, was based on the Chinese calendar. Dates are calculated from Korea's meridian, and observances and festivals are based in Korean culture.

The Gregorian calendar was officially adopted in 1895, but traditional holidays and age-reckoning for older generations are still based on the old calendar. [ [http://www.lifeinkorea.com/Calendar/holidays.cfm Korean Holidays ] ] The biggest festival in Korea today is Seol-nal (Unfamiliar day), the traditional Korean New Year. Other important festivals include Daeboreum (the first full moon), Dano (spring festival) and Chuseok (harvest festival).

See also Public holidays in North Korea and Public holidays in South Korea.


The traditional calendar designated its years via Korean era names from 270 to 963. Then Chinese era names were used until 1895 when the official use of the lunar calendar ceased.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the new Korean Empire on 1 January 1895, but with years numbered from the foundation of the Joseon Dynasty in 1393. From 1897, Korean era names were used for its years until Japan annexed Korea in 1910. Then Japanese era names were used to count the years of the Gregorian calendar used in Korea until Japanese occupation ended in 1945.

From 1945 until 1961 in South Korea, Gregorian calendar years were counted from the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE (regarded as year one), the date of the legendary founding of Korea by Dangun, hence these Dangi (단기) years were 4278 to 4294. This numbering was informally used with the Korean lunar calendar before 1945 but is only occasionally used today.

In North Korea, the Juche calendar has been used since 1997 to number its years, based on the birth of Kim Il Sung.


* The Chinese 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" 節氣 절기) in the year, spaced roughly 15 days apart;
* Lunar months including leap months added every two or three years.


The lunar calendar is used for the observation of traditional festivals, such as Korean New Year, 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

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

ee also

*List of Korea-related topics
*Traditional Korean culture
*Korean era name
*Sexagenary cycle
*Chinese calendar


The Folkloric Study of Chopail (Buddha's Birthday), by Prof. M.Y.Pyeon. Produced by Minsokwon in Seoul Korea,2002.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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