The best events throughout the year in Korea

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Lanterns as one of the top events throughout the year in Korea

Article updated on January 2024

Those who want to visit South Korea often wonder about the best time of year to go, so that they can go at a time when they can take advantage of the most events. Many festivals and events are organized in Korea, and some of them are very special. However, there really isn’t a best time to choose: there are things to do in Korea all year round.

Today we recommend the most popular events throughout the year in Korea, month by month.

Snow

January

One of the events throughout the year in Korea is of course New Year’s Eve, with its fireworks, parties, bells and sunrise over the sea. 

January is also a cold month, so many people go to ski resorts. One of the most popular destinations is Pyeongchan (평찬), where the 2018 Winter Olympics were held.

Another interesting event is the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival (화천천어제), which takes place in Hwacheon throughout most of January. Among the event’s most well known activity is fishing for trout with your bare hands through holes dug in the frozen lake – this is done in shorts and short sleeves! During the festival, it is also possible to try other activities  such as the ice slide and bobsleighing.

February

February may see celebrations for Seollal, the Lunar New Year, but the date varies from year to year, so sometimes it falls in January and sometimes in February.

Events throughout the year in Korea include the Herb Island Light Festival (허브아일랜드 불빛동화축제) in February in Pocheon, a few kilometers from Seoul. In the evening, the town lights up with colourful lights and cheerful decorations. This event continues to take place at other times of the year, but February is the most popular month. If you go to Pocheon, you can also take the opportunity to visit the Pocheon Art Valley, a striking rock formation overlooking a clear body of water where many dramas have been filmed, including A Korean Odyssey (화유기).

Tulip festival, one of the events throughout the year in Korea

March

In March, a marathon is held in Seoul, attracting many participants every year. There is a full marathon of 42.2 kilometers starting from Gwanghwamun Square and ending at the Seoul Sports Complex Olympic Stadium, and a mini-marathon of 10 kilometers starting at the Olympic Park and ending at the same destination. Visit the official marathon website here for Seoul and here for Busan.

The first spring festivals also begin, taking place in various locations and celebrating the first flowers of the year. In March, for example, you can participate in various tulip festivals.

The Jeju Fire Festival is held in March every year. Following a Korean tradition called bangae (반개), an agricultural process of burning down the fields to exterminate pests and allow the greens to regenerate. This award-winning festival is one of the most popular attractions in Jeju. Located at the Saebyeol Volcanic Cone, you can expect a spectacular view when bangae takes place. 

Towards the end of the month, you can also take part in the Nonsan Strawberry Festival, during which you can sample local strawberries and take part in themed cooking classes.

April

In April, the actual spring festivals start to become numerous and attract crowds of people. This is the period when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and various festivals are held in the various parks where cherry blossoms are present. Among these are the Yeouido Festival in Seoul (여의도 봄꽃축제) and the Seogwipo Festival in Jeju (제주 왕벚꽃축제).

Also noteworthy is the Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival (진도신비의바닷길축제). Once a year, the strip of land separating the island of Jindo from the peninsula resurfaces due to a lowering of the tide and can be crossed on foot.

Buddha’s birthday celebrations also take place between April and May, depending on when it falls on the lunar calendar. Celebratory lanterns are set up everywhere, but the Daegu Lantern Festival, during which lanterns are thrown into the sky, is of particular note.

Rose festival is one of the events throughout the year in Korea

May

In May, the spring festivals are not over yet, with the Rose Festival being one of them. One of the many festivals is Everland, the famous amusement park in Yongin, not far from Seoul.

Another interesting festival among the events throughout the year in Korea is the Boseong Green Tea Festival (보성다향대축제). This festival allows visitors to admire the verdant green tea fields of Beoseong and take part in activities such as themed exhibitions, leaf-picking and tea-making.

At the end of May, Busan hosts the Centum Beer Festival, where you can drink plenty of beer and soju, play games to win glasses, and watch short musical performances. Interestingly, a black bag will be provided at the entrance in case you overdo it!

Read our article on drinking culture in Korea here.

June

In June, one of the most impressive events throughout the year in Korea is the Danoje Festival in Gangneung. This is an event where you can watch ancient rituals, traditional dances and ssireum (씨름), a kind of Korean masked wrestling.

This festival is considered a UNESCO cultural heritage site. It is held on the occasion of dano (단오), the 50th day of the lunar calendar.

Beach events throughout the year in Korea

July

The most famous event in July that attracts people from all over Korea every year is the Boryeong Mud Festival. It’s an event during which people dive into the mud and play various games. Not recommended for those who don’t like getting dirty!

Another popular July event for young people is the Sinchon Watergun Festival, which takes place in Seoul and involves shooting each other with water guns in the streets of Sinchon district. This event usually lasts an entire weekend.

August 

August sees the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, the nation’s best-known rock event.

We also know that Koreans love spicy food, which is why the Goesan Chili Pepper Festival (괴산고추축제) takes place at the end of August.

Suwon where some events throughout the year in Korea take place

September

A very special September event is the Wonju Dynamic Dancing Carnival, a long masked parade that takes place in the city of Wonju. During the event, one has the opportunity to see both traditional and modern masks and dances, or the two styles fused together.

Between September and October, the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival also begins, during which historical performances are staged at the Hwaseong Fortress.

October

Depending on the lunar calendar, Chuseok – the autumn festival also known as Korean Thanksgiving – may fall in September or October.

The Busan International Film Festival (the first Korean film festival which plays a big role in the Asian film industry) is also held in Busan every year.

Halloween night is also celebrated as one of the popular events throughout the year in Korea. Generally, the celebrations take place over two weekends in a row and the area where the event is most popular is the Itaewon district in Seoul.

November

In November, Korea starts to light up with Christmas decorations, but that’s not all. In Seoul, the Seoul Lantern Festival is held in the central area, during which large lanterns in a variety of shapes decorate the Cheongyecheon stream and its surroundings.

Christmas illuminations during events throughout the year in Korea

December

Once November’s Seoul Lantern Festival is over, Cheongyecheon’s decorations are replaced with bright, colourful Christmas-themed lanterns. While Christmas wasn’t a big thing in Korea until a few years ago, it is now becoming increasingly important, especially on the consumer and decorative side.

We hope you enjoyed our month-by-month overview of events throughout the year in Korea. We’ve only considered a select few because there are just so many! Is there a particular festival or event in Korea that you know of and would like to recommend? Let us know in the comments.

For more information and interesting facts, keep following the Go! Go! Hanguk blog and do not hesitate to contact us about living and studying in Korea.

Share this article

Go! Go! Hanguk

Search articles

Popular posts

Life in Korea
Korean Culture
Life in Korea

Go! Go! HANGUK Blog

Related articles

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and is a very popular destination to visit as there are many great places to see along the coastline. In this guide, we will go through some of the key things to do in Busan. Things to do in Busan other than the Busan Film Festival...
Heading to Noraebang in Korea is one of the must-do activities when you’re in the country! A well-loved get-together entertainment choice among Koreans as well as tourists. Whether you wish to experience Korean culture while spending a great time with your friends or looking to sing your heart out, Noraebang is the way to go!...
In February 2024, South Korea is featured among the best 10 places to study abroad according to Forbes statistics. Influenced by Hallyu (한류, Korean wave) and gaining more traction in Korea’s education system, our team at Go! Go! Hanguk has also noticed an increase in interest in studying and living in Korea. While there are many...
The Kondae area in Seoul is a university district that is popular with young people and is famous for its shopping and nightlife. Let’s take a look at the top 10 things to do in Kondae if you’re going to study at Konkuk University. 10 things to do in Kondae as a Konkuk university student Kondae...
South Korea is known for having unique traditional flavors, both sweet and savory. In recent years, newer, trendier foods have also emerged as popular flavors and have quickly gone viral throughout the country. This guide will introduce you to the typical dessert flavors in Korea you can find in cities and in the countryside, from...

Contact us

Any questions? We are here to help