Celebrating Parents Day in Korea


5 minute read

Words by The Animals Observatory | May 08, 2023

Happy Parents Day 2023 to our good animals from South Korea! At The Animals Observatory we want to dedicate this day to you as well as to acknowledge your work in raising your children. May 8 is a national day for being thankful to one’s parents, and so it is also a special occasion for showing gratitude and respect to them.

For those of you who don’t know about the lore behind the National Parents Day, we will try our best to explain it to you. So here are some facts about it.

National Parents Day Facts

The National Parents Day started in 1956. At its beginning it was called Mother’s Day as it only celebrated motherhood at first. It was not until 1973 when it changed to both Mother and Father’s Day, thus creating the current Parents Day. As it is, nowadays there is neither Mother nor Father’s Day in South Korea, because they are not separate celebrations, but a single day to honor them both.

The symbol of Parents Day is the red carnation flower that children usually give to their parents as a token of their gratitude. The red carnations can be bought on the streets during May 8, but it is also common to create paper carnations as an activity for Arts class in schools, just some days before Parents Day comes. Along with the red carnation, children also give a special written letter to their parents in which they also express their love and respect to them. 

May 8 is a public holiday in South Korea, therefore people get a day off work in order to celebrate Parents Day spending time with their families, usually having a great meal together. Also that day, parents tend to wear the red carnations on their chests, where their children have put them, along with their letter, at the beginning of the day.

National Parents Day in South Korea is also a part of what is known as ‘The Month of Family’, as only three days before, the Children’s Day has taken place, on May 5.

About Children’s Day in Korea

Last May 5, Korea’s Children’s Day was also celebrated, so we also would like to explain a bit of the Children’s Day history. It was children’s literature writer Bang Jeong Hwan who introduced this holiday in 1923. The original idea was to add a national day that would promote the advancement of children, as Bang Jeong Hwan was also an advocate for children’s rights. Also during that time, the students already started to draw attention to their situation to improve their status.

In 1945, after World War II had ended, South Korea fully implemented the National Children’s Day. At first, it was held on May 1, but as it was coincident with International Labor’s Day, it was finally moved to May 5.

National Children’s Day in Korea is also a public holiday so, as they do on Parents Day, people put work off to spend family quality time. During that day, they usually attend special events in public parks, fairs or zoos, and they also play traditional games. Moreover, parents usually award their children with presents to celebrate their bond. 

Celebrating Parents Day with Harry

For such a special occasion in South Korea, we wanted to spend the day with our friend Harry, also known as, @BeHappy_Harry_P on Instagram. He is a marketer from Seoul as well as a fashion blogger, and we had the opportunity to meet him along with his children, Jian and Juan, in order to celebrate the Parents Day as well the Children’s Day. 

Turns out Harry is a really active parent. Not only does he love going to the gym and playing basketball, but he also plays soccer with his children every weekend. As he puts it “My weekend priority is with my family as always, but I try to enjoy outdoor activities if the weather permits it”. 

Harry spends a lot of time with his children. His day-to-day activities include helping Jian and Juan with their homework and also doing some domestic chores together in order to bond every day and not only the weekends, when they go on bicycle tours and, sometimes, to eat out and do a little shopping together. Although, he recognizes that those are more “adult greed than children’s, but they also express their opinions with considerable interest.”

When asked about whether his children are interested in fashion or not, he told us that they are indeed. For example, “When we take photos, they bring out their sunglasses, or other accessories they have.” For now, they are mostly interested in sports brands, as their love for sports runs deep into their family, so of course they love the more casual outfits from Spring-Summer 2023 by The Animals Observatory: sweatpants,sporty t-shirts, sweatshirts and, of course, the new Veja x The Animals Observatory sneakers capsule.