Winter in Korea and the 24 Solar Terms

Spring… summer… fall… winter in Korea

We are lucky to have four seasons in Korea: spring, summer, fall and winter. My favorite season is fall when the weather is usually mild and the scenery is enchanting. Winter is my least favorite season and it’s all because I don’t like the freezing cold weather. I couldn’t go out as much as I want to and we have to spend for the heater to keep our house warm. However, we still try to enjoy the season by visiting the numerous museums in and around Seoul. It’s usually during this season when we go to the National Science Museum in Gwacheon, the War Museum in Yongsan, the Seoul Science Museum near Hyehwa-dong, the Natural Science Museum in Seodaemun-gu and the National Folk Museum in Gyeongbokgung. This is also the season when I enjoy eating my favorite comfort foods. More about that in a later post. Of course, it’s also when we spend four hours just shopping for groceries!

As much as I don’t like winter, we still try our best to enjoy it. Do you know that every season in Korea has six solar terms called “jeol-gi” (Hangeul: 절기). There is a total of 24 절기. For winter, the solar terms are:

“ip-dong” or 입동 – November 7 – the start of the winter season
“so-seol” or 소설 – November 22 – which signals the beginning of light snowfall
“dae-seol” or 대설 – December 7 – when heavier snowfall is expected
“dong-ji” or 동지 – December 21 – winter solstice
“so-han” or 소한 – January 6 – the start of the coldest days of winter
“dae-han” or 대한 – January 21 – the coldest day of winter

Each solar term is 15 days apart in the calendar. The other solar terms are as follows:

Spring:
“ip-chun” or 입춘 – February 4 – spring season begins
“u-su” or 우수 – February 19 – spring rain
“kyeong-chip” or 경칩 – March 5 – when insects and frogs awaken from their hibernation
“chun-bun” or 춘분 – March 20 – the day begins to lengthen
“cheong-myeong” or 청명 – April 4 – preparation for spring farming
“gogu” or 곡우 – April 20 – farming rain fall

Summer:
“ip-ha” or 입하 – May 5 – summer begins
“so-man” or 소만 – May 21 – farming begins
“mang-jong” or 망종 – June 5 – seeding started
“ha-ji” or 하지 – June 21 – summer solstice
“so-seo” or 소서 – July 7 – start of the summer heat
“dae-seo” or 대서 – July 22 – start of the hottest days of summer

Autumn:
“ip-chu” or 입추 – August 7 – the start of autumn
“cheo-seo” or 처서 – August 23 – when the heat cools and temperature gap increases
“beng-no” or 백로 – September 7 – when dew begins to fall
“chu-bun” or 추분 – September 22 – autumn equinox
“han-no” or 한로 – October 8 – when cold dew begins to fall
“sang-gang” or 상강 – October 23 – when frost begins to fall

Isn’t it wonderful to be living in a country with four seasons?

5 thoughts on “Winter in Korea and the 24 Solar Terms

  • November 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm
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    Interesting!

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  • November 26, 2012 at 2:57 am
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    That is definitely my top reason why I dream of having a house in South Korea – FOUR SEASONS!!!

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  • December 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm
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    wow, i wish we had season in our country as well.. it seems so interesting to live together with seasons… even the clothes we wear change from season to season!!

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  • October 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm
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    Does it snow from January 22-27? Is it still good to visit Korea on those dates?

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    • October 11, 2013 at 12:16 am
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      Not really sure about the dates, but snow usually fall the hardest from mid-January. In my ten years here, snow usually fall between Dec 5-8 ;p

      Reply

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