Since Christmas is a fairly recent event in Korea, many of it’s celebrations are based on Western traditions, but Korea still has a lot of unique events and sights on offer during the festive season!
Read on to discover some of our most beloved Korean Christmas traditions and events~!
The Seoul Plaza Christmas Tree
Once December rolls around in Korea one of the the first things you’ll notice, besides the freezing weather and snow, is the lighting of the christmas tree in Seoul Plaza!
This eighteen metre high tree, equipped with thousands of LED lights, is usually lit at the end of November and is taken down at the beginning of the new year – which gives you a lot of time to grab a photo with it!
The tree also has a different theme each year and it’s beautiful colours make it a popular attraction for both Korean’s and tourists alike!
Korean Ballet Productions
Every year many people around the world anticipate different Christmas plays and shows, and Koreans are no different – one of the most popular festive productions in Korea, and our personal favourite, is The Nut Cracker!
This timeless piece has been performed by many Korean ballet companies over the years, namely The Universal Ballet, The Korean National Ballet and The Seoul Ballet Theatre – who in 2014 performed a version of The Nut Cracker with traditional Korean elements (pictured above) which made for an amazing spectacle of culture and art that many people enjoyed.
Grand Hyatt Ice Stating Rink (그랜드하얏트 서울 아이스링크)
If you’re a fan of Boys Over Flowers then you’ll easily recognise the Grand Hyatt Ice Rink as the spot where Geum Jan Di and Go Jun Pyo had their sweet ice-skating date in episode 9! Besides its appearances in dramas and commercials, this location is known for being the go-to place for couples.
Overlooking Gangnam and the Hangang River, the Grand Hyatt Ice Rink can be enjoyed during all times of the year by both couples having romantic festive dates or families who want to have fun together under the sparkling tree lights!
Christmas Shopping at Myeong-dong (명동)
If you need to go present shopping then Myeong-dong is the place to go! Starting with the Myeong-dong Subway Station and ending at the Lotte Department Store in Euljiro Avenue, Myeong-dong is the biggest fashion district in Seoul.
Here many brand name and premium label products are sold from stores like the Shinsegae Department Store, Noon Square, Myeong-dong Migliore, M Plaza and (the most popular) Lotte Department Store.
Myeong-dong also has many Korean, Japanese and Western styled restaurants as well as salons, theatres and street stalls, making it the best place to do some (or all) of your Christmas shopping!
Lighting Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전)
Located on the outskirts of Gapyeong (가평) in the province of Gyeonggi (경기), The Garden of Morning Calm is the oldest private garden in Korea and annually attracts around 600,000 visitors, from Koreans to foreigners.
Filled with scenic walkways, beautiful flower beds, large light sculptures (such as angels and Cinderella’s carriage) and paths that connect with the garden’s 20 different themed sections, The Garden of Morning Calm has events all year round – but one of our personal favourites is the Lighting Festival hosted during the winter months.
For those who can bear through the cold and large crowds, the Lighting Festival is a magical experience for everyone from children to adults!
Busan Sunrise Festival (부산해맞이축제)
Lastly, another big December festival in Korea is one that welcomes the New Year; the Busan Sunrise Festival!
Everyone, from locals to tourists, are invited to the Haeundae Beach areas and Yongdusan Park to bid the old year farewell and to greet the new year whilst enjoying views of the Busan’s breathtaking sunrise.
Despite having to get up very early to see it, many who have participated in the Sunrise Festival have described it as a warm and enlightening experience – which is, for us, the perfect way to end the festive season~!
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Feature Image Source: ©아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전, 21.10.2017, visitkorea.com