Photo of Seoul at night

What’s Up, World? South Korea

Learn about life in this nation in East Asia.

Everyone in South Korea just got a little bit younger! How? The government in this Asian country recently changed some rules.

Many of the 52 million people who live in South Korea had a tradition. The day a person was born, they were considered 1 year old. Then, no matter what day of the year they were born on, everyone turned one year older on New Year’s Day. 

How did that work? Imagine a baby is born on December 31. The baby is 1 year old that day. The next day, on January 1, that baby would turn 2. 

Some people in South Korea thought the system was too confusing. So on June 27, officials in South Korea passed a new law. 

According to the new law, a person’s age will now be calculated like it is in the U.S. and most other countries. When babies are born, they are zero years old. People will get a year older only on their actual birthdays. Many South Korean kids who were 8 turned 7 when the new law went into effect!

Dig in to discover more about South Korea and the people who live there.

Look At This!

Seoul [sohl] is the capital of South Korea. With 10 million citizens, it’s also the largest city in the country. The tallest building on the hill is Seoul Tower, a bright symbol of this modern city.

Let’s Eat! 

This bowl is filled with a popular Korean dessert called bingsu. It’s made of shaved ice and can be topped with sweet red beans and fruit.

Fun And Games

Tae kwon do is a popular martial art in South Korea. It has high, fast kicks. Last March, more than 12,000 South Koreans practiced tae kwon do at once. That set a world record!

bbtree/Alamy Stock Photo


On seollal [see-OW-luhl], or Korean Lunar New Year, kids show extra respect to their parents and grandparents. Kids wear special clothes and bow deeply. In return, they get silk bags of money!

People in South Korea speak Korean. To greet someone, they say “annyeonghaseyo” [ahn-yang-ha-se-yo]. Give it a try!

  1. Why did South Korea pass a law changing its traditional way of calculating people’s age?
  2. What are three facts about South Korea that you can learn from the map? 
  3. Based on the article, photos, and captions, what might people do on a visit to South Korea?
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