May – A Month of ‘Special’ Days

by Anne Ladouceur, 19/04/2008

May 2008 starts out with a long weekend since Monday the 5th is Children’s Day – a national holiday in Korea. Korean children look on Children’s Day as one of their favourite holidays – no school, they receive all kinds of gifts and, because it’s a holiday, their parents can spend time with them, playing games, going to special events, visiting parks, zoos, playgrounds, amusement parks, movies, and other kinds of fun stuff. And this year, it’s even better – Children’s Day falls on a Monday, which for many means a long weekend.

There are a lot of places to go with your children and things to do. A lot of the usual places – Amusement Parks, Children’s Grand Park, Museums, etc. all have special programs for children that weekend. (for a list of Amusement Parks, click on Whether they are offering special programs for Children’s Day or not, there are a number of other places of interest for children and their parents that you visit (see for some ideas). Your little ones may enjoy the theatre experience provided by TEETH ( or join Korean children for a special concert at Seoul Arts Centre ( You can always check out your favourite restaurant(s) and see if they’ve organized a special menu for Children’s Day.

At, we’ve been checking around to find out about special activities for Children’s Day, but most places do not have their May calendar of events posted or published as yet. As we locate information, we will post it in What’s Going On (

May is also the month when Koreans honor their Parents (Thursday 8 May) and their Teachers (Thursday 15 May). Although, they have to work that day, both parents and teachers can expect to receive some recognition from either their offspring or their students. You’ll see vendors on the streets selling flowers to the children and parents are easily recognized that day by the red carnations they are wearing.

Teachers also receive carnations and other gifts from students…however, the practice of giving gifts to teachers periodically comes under strong criticism. Mothers now try to find imaginative, non-ostentatious ways of expressing their gratitude for the special attention the teacher has given (and will give) to their child. Teacher’s Day used to be a statutory holiday, but no longer.

For North Americans, May also means Mother’s Day and a number of restaurants, especially in the Itaewon area, will be offering special Mother’s Day fare for families wanting to treat Mom to day out of the kitchen.

This year, May also offers all of us two long weekends. The first, Children’s Day we’ve already mentioned. The second one is Buddha’s Birthday, which fall on Monday 12 May this year.

For Buddha’s Birthday activities or for an update on what’s on offer (in the Seoul area, but we welcome information for all over the Peninsula) check out What’s Going On (
Whether you marking the special Korean days, Mother’s Day or other special days such as May 1st (worker’s day) or 19 May (Victoria Day – a holiday for Canadians) or the May 25 American holiday, Memorial Day, we wish you a Great Day!

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