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Winter print

Winter: The Season of Snow

Korea's Beautiful Four Seasons

Korea is geographically situated in a temperate climate zone at medium latitude. As a result, it has four distinct seasons. In general, spring is from March to May, summer from June to August, autumn from September to November, and winter from December to February. The weather in spring and autumn is clear and dry due to the influence of anticyclones; summer is hot and humid due to Korea's location on the North Pacific Edge; and in winter, continental high pressure brings cold, dry weather.

>>  Winter: The Season of Snow

Winter, season of snow

Winter in Korea is usually between December and February, with the average temperature in January, the coldest month, ranging between minus six degrees and three degrees Celsius. The days with the lowest temperatures in the winter usually occur in the middle and end of January. In winter, the days are shorter with the sunrise occurring later and the sunset occurring earlier. Usually, a cycle of three days of cold weather followed by four days of warmer weather (samhansaon*) is repeated. The mountainous regions in Gangwon-do receive snowfall starting in early winter, with the weather being very cold and dry due to the wind blowing in from Siberia. Major holidays between the months of December and February are Christmas, New Year, and Lunar New Year, and the months of February and early March are the time for graduation ceremonies and the start of school. In rural areas, arable land is left to rest until farming resumes in the spring while some vegetables are grown in vinyl greenhouses. A unique practice in the winter between November and December is gimjang*, which is the preparation of large quantities of kimchi to eat throughout winter.

* Samhansaon phenomenon
Samhansaon refers to the phenomenon where three days of cold weather are followed by four warmer days. This climatic occurrence often takes place in the Northeastern part of China and Korea during wintertime. The phenomenon follows a seven-day cycle in which the continental high pressure becomes strong and then weakens. The ratio of the high pressure’s rising cycle and falling cycle is about 3 to 4, thus the name samhansaon (three cold days, four warmer days). Though the climatic change traditionally occurred in a 7-day cycle, it has become less predictable due to world-wide climate change.
* Gimjang
Gimjang refers to the preparation of large quantities of kimchi to eat throughout winter. It is a special event in Korean households that takes place somewhere between late autumn and early winter. Kimchi made during this time is called gimjang kimchi. Korean cabbage is the main ingredient, and the seasoning is made with radishes, water parsley, garlic, spring onions, ginger, salt, salted fish, and red pepper powder. The gimjang kimchi is carefully stored to last throughout the wintertime.

Last updated on February 10, 2015

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