How Koreans Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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If you are into Korean dramas or simply an enthusiast of the culture, then you know that Korean couples aren’t very showy in public. This is why some of us are into their dramas: the romance burns slow, takes its time to develop, and works on subtlety. Somehow, the awkward display of affection seems more sincere. Maybe we all can relate. It’s harder to express our feelings than how it’s portrayed by the media.

While most of the countries around the world celebrate togetherness monthly, for Koreans, the 100th day is probably one of the most important days for couples. It’s a milestone in a relationship.

They do Valentine’s Day a little differently as well.

Here in the Philippines, and in other parts of the world, Valentine’s Day is a special day for couples. You’ll see women walking on the streets with big bouquets in their hands. You’ll see them hugging a teddy bear with one hand and holding hands with a loved one with the other. They go out on a date and sometimes take tedious preparations to make the day more special.

In Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and other East Asian countries, there are three celebrations related to Valentine’s Day and they are one month apart from one another.

The first one is Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated every 14th of February. However, the day focuses on women giving gifts to men they like. It’s not a mutual thing yet. If the guy they like is working or studying, then the woman has the option to send chocolates to his male co-workers or classmates as well. They’re called courtesy chocolates, something out of politeness. Then, she will give the man she likes something that she made at home. If she couldn’t, she’d buy him expensive chocolates instead.

Valentine’s Day in these countries takes dedication, effort, and patience. The woman doesn’t get answered right away. She will have to wait for a month to know if the guy likes her too.

Fast-forward to March, the guy will reciprocate the gesture if he likes the woman back. White Day is celebrated during March and it involves guys giving gifts to the women who gave them gifts on Valentine’s Day. The gift has to be more expensive than what they’ve received and it has to be white or has something white. Thus, the ‘White’ Day.

If you’re single, fret not because there’s also a day made just for you!

On the month of April, there is a day called Black Day. In the past years, single people gather to eat jjajangmyeon, the famous Korean black noodles. Misery loves company indeed! But as the years progressed, this depressing time was tweaked to make it less dreary. It’s not the day people wallow in solitude and loneliness anymore, but a celebration of being single instead.



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