Liberation Day in South Korea in 2024

Liberation Day in South Korea in 2024
  How long until Liberation Day?
Liberation Day
  Dates of Liberation Day in South Korea
2025 South Korea Fri, Aug 15 National Holiday
2024 South Korea Thu, Aug 15 National Holiday
2023 South Korea Tue, Aug 15 National Holiday
2022 South Korea Mon, Aug 15 National Holiday
2021 Aug 15, Aug 16
South KoreaMon, Aug 16National Holiday (in lieu)
South KoreaSun, Aug 15National Holiday

Marks the liberation of Korea from 35 years of Japanese imperial rule in 1945 after the end of the second World War.

  Local name
Related holidays

When is Liberation Day?

This holiday is South Korea's national day and is always celebrated on August 15th.

History of Liberation Day

Liberation Day is a holiday that marks the liberation of Korea from 35 years of Japanese imperial rule in 1945 after the end of the Second World War.

On August 15th 1948 the Republic of Korea was established, with Syngman Rhee as the first president; on September 9th 1948, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established under Kim Il-sung.

It is also known as Gwangbokjeol, which literally means 'Restoration of Light' day. 

Gwangbokjeol is a combination of three carefully chosen Korean characters: ‘광’ (gwang) or “light”; ‘복’ (bok) or “restoration”; and ‘절’ (jeol) or “holiday.” As the nation’s history on the Korean peninsula extends back to 4 BCE, the character for “restoration” is used instead of “independence” to highlight the thousands of years of history that preceded its occupation by other forces.

Gwangbokjeol was designated a public holiday in 1949.

The investiture of the Rhee government followed the general election of April 10th 1948.

How is Liberation Day celebrated?

The day is marked by different activities and events throughout the day, including an official ceremony with the president in attendance that takes place at the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan or at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

All buildings and homes are encouraged to display the national flag T'aegukki, and most public museums and places are open free of charge to the descendants of independence activists on the holiday.

Outside of South Korea, this is one of the few holidays celebrated on the whole of the Korean peninsula and the Korean diaspora all over the world will join in the celebrations by sharing a meal of bibimbap (a rice dish) and kimchi (a vegetable dish) , singing Korean folk songs, or playing a game of yut, a traditional board game played in Korea.

Koreans worldwide celebrate the nation’s hard-won independence and rich history with public displays of the T'aegukki, while official government ceremonies honour those who made sacrifices to establish a sovereign state.

광복절 만세 (Gwangbokjeol manse)! Happy National Liberation Day, Korea!

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