May 5–Children’s Day in Korea

I remember asking my parents around Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, “When’s children’s day?” They always answered, “Everyday is children’s day.”

Well, the lucky children of Korea have a Children’s Day. It’s May 5. The holiday for children was created in 1923 by author Pang Jeong Hwan as a way to honor children since he believed they were the future of the country.

And it’s an easy Korean holiday to celebrate no matter where you live. In Korea, families spend the day together and go to amusement parks, museums or zoos. Children are often given gifts and treated to their favorite foods.

Our family follows this tradition. Myhusband takes the day the off work and we spend it together. The first year we went to a children’s museum and last year the zoo. This year’s holiday will mark our third together as a family and our little guy may get to choose this year what he’d like to do.

One great resource is the book Korean Children’s Day by Ruth Suyenaga. This book is about a Korean adoptee who spends Children’s Day at his local Korean cultural center with his family and his best friend. It’s a great way to introduce parts of the Korean culture to kids from the perspective of a Korean adoptee. I believe the book is out of print, but it can be found on used book Web sites, like the one linked to above.

Children’s Day would also be a good day to play Korean games, like yut, and eat at a Korean restaurant. I found some great information about Children’s Day here.

While Children’s Day is a more recent holiday, May 5 has been a holiday in Korea for centuries. Before being designated as Children’s Day, May 5 was Tano, a celebration of the start of summer. Here is some basic information about the Tano holiday.

And for you parents, while moms and dads get separate days in America, they share a holiday in Korea. Parent’s Day is May 8. Parents usually receive a red carnation from their children and maybe a small gift, and the children sing them the Parent’s Day Song. This Web site gives some background on Parent’s Day and Korean folk tales that correspond with the holiday’s purpose of honoring parents.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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