Christmas in Korea with Esther Julee | 12 Days of Christmas Around the World Day 10

About the Contributor // I want to extend a huge thanks to Esther Julee of Local Adventurer for helping me research this post! Esther is a photographer and blogger currently based in San Diego, California where she writes about her travels along with her husband Jacob.

A History of Christmas in Korea

Korea began celebrating Christmas as a holiday in the year 1949. Since the country used to primarily be practice Buddhism, it wasn’t until missionaries came to Korea and converted many into Christians in the 19th and 20th century that Christmas was celebrated. There was no holiday similar to Christmas in Korea prior to that.

How it is Celebrated Today

Christmas is celebrated very similarly to how it’s celebrated in the US, but not quite to the same degree. Not as many people put up Christmas trees or lights, getting into the Christmas spirit by listening to only Christmas music, etc., but you will see malls or other buildings decorated. And they do exchange gifts!


While there aren’t any dishes specific to Christmas meals, there are the ever popular Christmas cakes, a sponge cake covered in cream and elaborate decorations, often purchased from a local bakery. Ice cream cakes are also a popular alternative. These cakes are often elaborately decorated and can be quite beautiful!

Christmas Vocabulary in Korean

KoreanTransliterationEnglish
크리스마스keu ri seu ma seuChristmas
메리 크리스마스!mae ri keu ri seu ma seuMerry Christmas
해피 하누카!hae pi ha noo kaHappy Hanukkah
성탄절seong tan juhlChristmas day
산타 클로스san ta keul lo seuSanta Claus (also 산타 할아버지 san ta ha ra bo jee
아기예수ah gi yeh soobaby Jesus
행복한 휴일 보내세요!haeng bok han hyu il bo nae sae yohappy holidays
새해 복 많이 받으세요!sae hae bok man ii bo nae sae yoblessings in the new year!
nun / noonsnow
눈싸움noon ssa oomsnowball fight
눈사람nun sa ramsnowman
눈송이noon song isnowflake
선물seon mulpresent
아이스 스케이팅ai seu seu kae tingice skating
겨울guy oolwinter
추운choo ooncold
벽난로byeog nan rofireplace
썰매타기sseol mae tah gisledding
얼음eor sumice
크리스마스 트리ker ree ser ma ser ter reeChristmas Tree
루돌프 사슴코ru dol peu sa seum koRudolph the red-nosed reindeer
북극buk geukNorth Pole
그린치geu rin chiGrinch
케이크cae ee kercake
순록sun nokreindeer
크리스마스 양말keu ri seu ma seu yang malstocking
korean-christmas-cake

Korean Christmas Cakes

Notes

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
½ cup oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest from 1 lemon
6 room temperature eggs, separated
1½ cup sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
one can of vanilla frosting
In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
In two additional bowls, separate the eggs with the yolks in one and the whites in the other.
Whisk together the yolks along with 1 cup of sugar. Add in the oil, water, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
In your third bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add in the cream of tartar. Slowly add in the 1/2 cup of sugar, a small amount at a time while continually whisking. Continue to whisk eggs until they reach stiff peaks.
Slowly mix the egg yolk mixture into the flour bowl. Mix just enough to combine ingredients so that batter is not overworked. Fold in the egg whites until the batter is uniform.
Pour batter equally into two 8″ cake tins. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool, then add vanilla frosting.
Adapted from the Squishy Monster

Would you like to download a copy of this recipe and vocabulary? Enter your email below and I’ll send you the password and link to the page on this site where all 12 of the recipes and vocabulary sheets will be posted!


Get the PDF

Written by:

Published on: December 23, 2015

Filed Under: Culture & Cuisine, Language Resources

Views: 437