Seasonal Customs of Korea

(Korean Culture Series #7)


Seasonal Customs of Korea

In this fast-paced, rapidly changing world, Korea has not been unaffected. Many long-observed seasonal customs still practiced just a few short decades ago have now disappeared or are quickly disappearing. (Children prefer computer games to kite-flying and top-spinning on Lunar New Year’s Day.) Although a custom may no longer be explicitly followed, knowledge of it has more importance than merely satisfying one’s inquisitiveness.  The essence of the past manifests itself in the present. Korea’s long-observed seasonal customs of the past do still, however, have considerable influence upon the formation of the behavioral and attitudinal patterns of present-day society. In this way, customs of yesteryear live on to influence the present, and ultimately, the future.

Most seasonal customs have been formed and developed as a result of the cycles of agriculture.  Thus, they reflect people’s everyday life. As seasonal customs have been formed around unified experiences of people’s lives, Korea’s traditional culture has been transmitted through deeply embedded teachings, within which the sentiments of the people have also been preserved.


I. Introduction
1. The Significance of Seasonal Customs
2. The Origins of Seasonal Customs
3. The Characteristics of Seasonal Customs

II. Customs of the Twenty-Four Seasonal Periods

III. The Lunar Calendar and Customs of the Twelve Months
1. The Lunar Calendar
2. The First Month: New Year’s Celebrations
3. The Second Month: Post-New Year’s Activities
4. The Third Month: Spring Flowers and Samjit-nal
5. The Fourth Month: Buddhist Celebrations
6. The Fifth Month: Dano
7. The Sixth Month: Yudu and Dog Days
8. The Seventh Month: Chilseok and Baekjung
9. The Eighth Month: Harvest Moon Festival
10. The Ninth Month: Negative Influences
11. The Tenth Month: National Foundation, Horses, and Sondol
12. The Eleventh Month: Dongjit-dal
13. The Twelfth Month: Seot-dal Rounds Out the Year

IV. Extra Special Days and Months
1. The Twelve Zodiac Days and Related Customs
2. The Intercalary Month




David E. Shaffer

David E. Shaffer has lived and worked in Korea for many years. He is a professor of the English Language Department at Chosun University in Gwangju, South Korea, where he has taught since 1976. Before relocating to Korea in the early 1970s, Dr. Shaffer lived in Pennsylvania, in the northeastern United States. He graudated from Pennsylvania State University and completed his graduate studies in English linguistics at Chosun University. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Shaffer has been active as a columnist for a number of Korean periodicals with nationwide readership. He has written on the English and Korean languages, as well as traditional and modern Korean culture. In 1993, he was the recipient of the Modern Korean Literature Translation award in poetry. Dr. Shaffer is an active member of numerous academic associations in Korea, sitting on the executive boards of Asia TEFL, Korea TESOL (Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), and GETA (Global English Teachers Association).

207 pp.
LC# 2006940546
Hardcover and Softcover 20 x 25 cm
ISBN-13: 9781565912458 (H) 9781565912465 (S)
ISBN-10: 1565912454 (H) 1565912462 (S)

Korean Culture Series: