Memorial Day in Korea 현충일

Wondering about Korean Memorial Day (현충일 Hyunchungil) in Korea? Have a quick look at this national holiday observed on June 6th. The following post doesn’t just explain the holiday meaning, it also provides insight into how the holiday may be celebrated and how you can incorporate the holiday into your life as an ex-pats living in South Korea.

About Memorial Day 현충일

In South Korea, Memorial Day referred to as Hyunchungil 현충일 is considered a “red day” or public holiday. A ‘red day’ means that salaried employees have a paid day off for Memorial Day, June 6. (When this day lands on the weekend, Koreans celebrate on an alternate day such as Friday or Monday). Also, red days are typically days of rest, reflection, and commemoration.

Memorial Day or Hyunchungil 현충일 sets aside June 6 to remember and honor the sacrifices and contributions of fallen soldiers and military personnel who died serving their country. In addition, Memorial Day commemorates the sacrifices of those from the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Battle of Bongoh Town, and the Battle of Cheongsanri. Observed annually on June 6, ceremonies, speeches, and tributes to the fallen heroes commemorate the day.

Since 1954, Korea dedicated June as the month dedicated to the veterans of war and patriots. However, Korea declared it a public holiday on April 19 of 1956 to honor the sacrifices of military personnel who died defending their country. The day, referred to as Hyunchungil, since Hyunchung 현충 refers to the praise of loyal martyrs and il 일 means day.

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The following video provides more information on Memorial Day (현충일 Hyunchungil).

Celebrating Memorial Day in Korea

Korea celebrates June 6, Memorial Day (현충일 Hyunchungil) with memorial ceremonies, speeches, and other events to pay tribute to the fallen heroes. This day reminds Koreans of the sacrifices made by military personnel as they protect and defend their country.

The most significant memorial ceremony occurs at Seoul National Cemetery or Daejeon National Cemetery each year. On June 6 at 10 a.m., a siren rings all over Korea. Koreans observe a minute of silence to honor the fallen heroes. The Korean flag is typically raised to half-staff and the memorial song, Song of Memorial Day” (현충일 노래), is played or sung. Also, cars and people on the streets often stop at this moment to pay their respect as well.

During Memorial Day, Koreans often attend memorial ceremonies or events to commemorate the day. Furthermore, many Koreans visit war memorials or museums across the country. Moreover, family members and government officials lay flowers or wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers. Businesses often display the Korean national flag on their front doors during the month of June to honor the fallen.

Daejeon National Cemetery

Daejeon National Cemetery0

042-718-7114

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

대전 유성구 갑동 산23-1

Daejeon National Cemetery was established to commemorate and promote the spirit if loyalty and commendation of those who sacrificed and contributed for the country and society. (

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Seoul National Cemetery

Seoul National Cemetery0

15221555

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Hangul Address

서울 동작구 현충로 210

Seoul National Cemetery is the resting place of fallen Korean patriots. It was established to honor the loyalty and devotion if those sacrificed and lived for their country. Facilities at the cemetery include the War History Museum, Memorial Tower, Memorial Hall and the Altar to the Patriots and Patriotic Martyrs. Memorial services are held yearly on June 6th, Korean Memorial Day. (https://english.visitseoul.net/other/Seoul-National-Cemetery_/1967)

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

National Museum of Korea

National Museum of Korea5

Plan to spend your entire day here. First floor had history of Korea exhibits, which took us about 1-2 hrs. Childrens museum, food court, and 3 gift shops were on the first floor. You will need to schedule an appointment online for the childrens museum. Second floor included collections donated to the museum, international exhibits, and a cafe. Third floor included the special exhibit and Buddhism exhibits, and a tea cafe. The grounds outside are also worth visiting, from the huge mirror pond, the ringing bell, garden walks. Theres a magnificent view of the Seoul Tower. Theres also another cafe, convenience store, and restaurant.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

The Independence Hall of Korea

The Independence Hall of Korea4.7

041-560-0114

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

충남 천안시 동남구 목천읍 독립기념관로 1

The Independence Hall of Korea houses artifacts and documents from Koreas struggle for independence during the Japanese Colonial Period.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Potential Inconveniences on Memorial Day in Korea

Obviously, any of the following inconveniences may or may not occur depending on where you live in South Korea and the current social climate. However, the awareness that the following issues may occur may allow you to better plan ahead and avoid stress:

  • If you don’t like kids consider spending time at home. Suddenly, kids appear in every part of your life at a time when they ‘should’ be in school. This would be a great time to stay home and catch up on your favorite TV shows or read a book.
  • Expect bad traffic. Families travel all over the place for events and fun activities during this holiday. Don’t expect to get anywhere fast.
  • Expect hectic parking. Holidays usually mean circling the parking lot or neighborhood a few times before you find a place. Give yourself extra time if you need to go somewhere.
  • Expect booking travel to be harder. When Memorial Day falls near a weekend booking travel and traffic that weekend may be hectic. Families will be booking all the hotels, camp sites and doing all the activities.

How to Source Additional Information About Locations

If you have questions about things like business hours, you can use the free foreigner support app/phone number 1330. In addition, using apps like Naver can help you navigate with expected traffic times.