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In the wake of a stressful year for South Korea’s 51 million residents, the government has decided to give the country a consecutive 10-day holiday beginning Saturday, September 30. On Tuesday morning, the South Korean cabinet in Seoul approved the proposal that allowed the one-off holiday on Monday, October 2 to bridge the gap between the weekend and a series of national holidays.
On October 3, the nation will celebrate National Foundation Day which celebrates the traditional founding of Korea in 2333 B.C. It is followed by the Korean national holiday of Chuseok — known in English as the Korean Thanksgiving — which lasts three days and is one of the most important Korean holidays. Many residents use this time to travel home and spend time with their families. It’s followed by Hangeul Day on October 9, which marks the invention of the Korean alphabet in 1446.
During this newly-minted holiday, President Moon Jae-in hopes that the country will savor the time off and enjoy time away from work. He has previously stressed the importance of vacation and time away from work. South Korea is known for its long working hours and underused paid leave. The President has led by example, taking time off in late July despite the tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
The announcement of the 10-day holiday comes after a rough year for South Korea. Aside from the growing tensions with its northern neighbor, the country is recovering from a massive corruption scandal that broke out in 2016, involving its political and business elite, as well as then-President Park Geun-hye who was eventually brought down because of her involvement.
President Moon Jae-in stated that not only is the holiday good for national morale, but for the economy as well since the holiday offers more opportunities for its residents to spend money. During a similar special holiday in August 2015, the country reported an economic surplus equivalent to $1.7 billion.
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