In Korea, Christmas does not hold such a big meaning as it does in other Western countries and thus, is not so much characterized by interesting Christmas cultures. To most people, Christmas is a day for going out on a date if you are in a relationship, or for the less fortunate, it is just a day for watching Home Alone or the Harry Potter series while munching on a pack of potato chips in front of the TV. However, there are many other ways to make your Christmas special and memorable in Korea.
2012 Lotte World Christmas Festival
Located in Jamsil, Seoul, Lotte World has been one of the most popular theme parks in Korea. This winter, from November 9 to December 25, Lotte World is not only opening its theme park, but is also hosting a Christmas Festival. Featuring characters from Disney movies and fairy tales, this festival is more than enough to bring back the innocence and memories of your childhood. A marching band dressed as Santa Claus, Christmas trees that dance along the music, and Santa Claus and his reindeers will lift up the Christmas spirit. Here you can enjoy the electrifying rides, listen to Christmas carols, and watch a romantic parade at the same time. This festival will be great for families, friends, and lovers who want to fill their Christmas with fairytale memories.
Lighting Festival of the Garden of Morning Calm
If you are not a city person and would rather spend Christmas somewhere nice and quiet, try the Lighting Festival of the Garden of Morning Calm. Located in Gapyeong, Gyunggi Province, the place is away from the city yet not too far from Seoul, making it the perfect get-away place for people who are exhausted by the noise and crowds of the city. From December 7 to March 3, the festival will start at 9 a.m and end at 9 p.m. Here, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful combination of lights and nature, which you cannot always find in the cities, and can enjoy the calm atmosphere of the winter days.
Busan Christmas Tree Festival
When you have a chance to visit Busan during December, do not just stop at visiting the Haeundae Beach or Gwangalli. Dropping by the Busan Christmas Tree Festival may not be a bad idea. Held all over Gwangbok-dong, this festival features extravagant lighting on trees, photo zones, cultural performances, and other various events that people can participate in. While just walking along the streets, admiring the beautifully decorated trees will be more than enough to fill the air with the Christmas spirit. This festival contains various cultural events, such as music, dance, and magic performances, and will be available all week at 7 p.m. On December 21 and 22, there will be an audition for people who want to perform at the Christmas Tree Festival. During the third week of December, there will be a performance put together by foreigners living in Busan, showing their traditional costumes and performances. In front of the little stage near Yong Du San, there will be an exhibition and a sand animation performance.
European Christmas Market
For any gastronomes and anyone who are up for trying different cultures, the European Christmas Market may be a great way to spend Christmas. Here, the chance for cultural exchange is given to everyone including Koreans and foreigners. This festival is organized by the Seongbuk Global Village Center and sponsored by the German, British, Swiss, and Dutch Embassy to introduce the Christmas culture of various European countries. This year’s festival was held from November 30 to December 1 at Seongbukcheon Bunsumaru, which is located near the Hansung University Station.
At the European Christmas Market, you can try various European Christmas foods, such as raclette cheese from Switzerland, lasagna from Italy, crepe from France, and Christmas cakes from Netherlands, all of which people are quite unfamiliar with in Korea. With only 3000 to 5000 Korean Won, you can try these delicious, exotic foods from Europe. If you are into decorating, you can even buy Christmas ornaments from Europe to decorate your home. Christmas carols and European music will also be performed. At the market, children can write letters to Santa Claus in English or Korean and receive replies on Christmas Day. Raffle tickets will be sold for 1000 Korean Won by some of the German children, and prizes include gifts prepared by the European multinational corporations. There will also be an auction for the gingerbread house, made by Grand Hilton Hotel, from the story Hansel and Gretel.