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Parents Day In Korea | The What, When, And How Of It All

by song-i

You must have heard about International Parent’s Day, but did you know that there is a separate festival called Parents Day in Korea. Find out more about it in my article below. 

I think every country has a different way of celebrating parents. 

Take for example, in the United States, there are two separate days for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as a Parent’s Day which was established in the Clinton regime. 

Even the United Nations has proclaimed June 1st as the “Global Day of Parents” in order to internationally recognize parents all around the world.

So it’s no surprise that in a country like South Korea, who takes itself very seriously when it comes to honoring traditions and family values, that Parent’s Day is such a huge deal. 

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Celebrated on the 8th of May every year, Parents day is an event designed to make children celebrate their parents. Although not a government holiday, it’s treated like a very big deal.

Kids usually give gifts to their parents, they have a special function at school and older children often take their mother and father out to dine. 

The Parents Day in Korea is just a few days down from Children’s day which is celebrated on the 5th of May.

All About Parents Day In Korea

Parent’s day is such an interesting concept isn’t it? And it makes perfect sense for a family-oriented, collectivistic culture such as South Korea. So check out below all the details about celebrating Parents Day in Korea. 

parents' day in south korea

What Is Parents Day In Korea

Parents’ Day is celebrated on different days in different countries. In Korea, it is celebrated on May 8, and in the United States, it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July. 

The United States day was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. June 1 has also been proclaimed as “Global Day of Parents” by the United Nations as a mark of appreciation for the commitment of parents towards their children. 

In the Philippines, while it is not strictly observed, the first Monday of December each year is proclaimed as Parents’ Day.

And coming to South Korea, this day’s designation was established in 1973, replacing Mother’s Day previously marked on May 8 to create an universal day of commemoration for both parents. 

parents day in south korea
Source: Instagram@ikets.korea

When Is Parents Day Celebrated In South Korea

In South Korea, Parents’ Day is celebrated annually on May 8. This holiday is celebrated by both the public and the government. Family events on this day focus on honoring parents; popular actions include giving parents carnations. 

The tradition of wearing carnations on this day originated in Christian culture in the United States. Western religion, culture, and Confucian ideas combined to make Parents’ Day a traditional holiday. 

Public events on this holiday are led by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and include public celebrations and awards.

The origins of Parents’ Day can be traced back to the 1930s. Christian communities in some parts of the world started to celebrate Mother’s Day or Parents’ Day. This tradition was eventually combined with Korea’s traditional Confucian culture to establish Mother’s Day.

In 1956, the State Council of South Korea designated May 8 as an annual Mother’s Day. However, there was also discussion about Father’s Day, and on March 30, 1973, May 8 was designated as Parents’ Day under Presidential Decree 6615, or the Regulations Concerning Various Holidays.

How Is Parents Day Celebrated In South Korea

In South Korea, Parents’ Day is celebrated by giving red carnations to one’s parents. These carnations are usually handmade by the students in school leading up to the holiday. Along with the carnation, kids will also write a letter of thanks to their parents. On Parents’ Day, families will get together and have a meal to celebrate. 

Parents’ Day is celebrated in order to appreciate the time spent with parents, especially as people tend to visit them less often as they get older.

In South Korea, Parents’ Day is celebrated by having dinner with one’s parents, giving them gifts or gift certificates, and expressing gratitude.

There is a special song for Parents’ Day in South Korea. In elementary, middle, and high schools, students invite their parents to a Parents’ Day Ceremony. During this event, the students sing the Parents’ Day song to their parents. One of the lyrics is “What else can be called as big under the sky. Mother’s sacrifices are endless.” This means that parents’ love is as big as the sky.

How do we celebrate Parents Day in korea
Source: Instagram@hey_leelyn

Origins Of Parents Day: Is It Celebrated In The US Too?

The first Parents’ Day was celebrated in South Korea in 1973. Unlike the National Parents’ Day in the U.S., which is celebrated every fourth Sunday of July, the date of celebration for Parents’ Day in South Korea falls on May 8th. 

Parents’ Day is not a public holiday, but it is widely celebrated. Initially, the entire week was designated as a week for respecting the elderly.

However, since 1997, October has been dedicated as the month for the elderly. Now, May is known more as family month, as, in addition to Parents’ Day, Children’s Day is also celebrated during the start of the month.

National Parents’ Day is celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Sunday of July. The National Parents’ Day council organizes events and ceremonies for National Parents’ Day, recognizing, uplifting, and supporting outstanding parents with Parents of the Year award programs.

This also serves as an event that encourages organizations and legislative entities to support parents who serve as role models to their children. Through this, they promote responsible parenting, positive parenthood, and educational efforts.

Is There A Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Korea

In Korea, Mother’s Day has been celebrated since the 1930s. Eventually, May 8th was officially designated as the day for the annual Mother’s Day celebration in Korea in 1956. This went on until 1973, when Parents’ Day replaced Mothers’ Day.

Korea does not celebrate Fathers’ Day separately. When Mother’s Day was established, considerations towards also creating a Father’s Day led to the new designation of May 8th as Parents’ Day instead of just Mother’s Day.

FAQs about Parents Day in Korea

Is Parents’ Day in South Korea the same as International Parents’ Day?

South Korean Parents’ Day is held on 8th of May. It was established in 1975 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in order to let the public know the importance of parental love. The day has been celebrated every year since 1976, but the reason it has been changed into Parents’ Day is because International Parents’ Day is held on the second Sunday in October.

Why do Koreans celebrate Parents Day?

Koreans are deeply family-oriented people. Parents are respected, honored, and highly valued in Korean culture. We put a lot of emphasis on the honor of our parents, and we show it by celebrating Parents Day each year. The day is celebrated on the eight of May each year. On this day, we visit our parents to give them a gift, take them out for a meal, or just spend some quality time with them. Traditionally, the gift is a fruit such as a pear, because it symbolizes longevity of life. A meal might be an expensive restaurant or a simple family dinner. The time spent is usually more important than the actual gift or meal.

How to say ‘Happy Parents’ Day in Korean?

“Happy parents’ day” in Korean can be translated as “haepi eobeoinal”.

When is Children’s Day in Korea?

Children’s day is a national holiday in Korea. It is celebrated on May 5. Children’s Day was first celebrated in Korea in 1962. It was introduced as part of the movement to protect and promote the rights of children. The first Children’s Day was celebrated at the Cheonggyecheon Plaza in Seoul in 1962. Since 1962, Children’s Day has been celebrated in Korea every May 5.

Final Thoughts on Parents Day in South Korea

The love we have for our parents is eternal. We celebrate the day we were born and the day they were born

It is a day to celebrate the two people who are most cherished in our hearts. We hope everyone celebrating this day was able to tell their parents how much they truly love them.

While there are many activities that you and your family can do on Parents’ Day in Korea, it is important to remember that the holiday is a great opportunity to give your parents some special time. 

Also Read:

List Of Korean Traditions and Festivals

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