In countries like America, Canada, Australia and in Europe, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day in the year. It’s a time for couples to exchange chocolates, flowers and presents and is the one day in the year for men and women to express their undying love for one another. In Korea however, Valentine’s Day is still on February 14 but it’s traditionally only for men. Yes, that’s right, only for men.
On Valentine’s Day, while men in the Western world are trying to find the perfect gift for their sweetheart, women in South Korea are buying watches, cologne and other small tokens for their love for their boyfriends and husbands. Women in South Korea still buy the same sorts of things: chocolates, stuffed toys and bottles of wine but they don’t expect to get anything in return.
So then when do the girls have their day to be showered with romance? White Day happens exactly one month later on March 14 and it’s the guys turn to go all out and make a special day for their sweethearts. Corner stores and shopping malls sell bouquets of flowers, expensive boxes of chocolates, fancy “I Love You” cakes and restaurants offer specials to make the day memorable – just like in Western countries. While there isn’t a whole lot of pressure for girls to go all out for Valentine’s Day, the same expectations exist for Korean guys to plan the best day possible.
Single? Unmarried? There’s a special day for this part of the population too. Black Day is on April 14, a month after all the lovey-dovey stuff is done and is commonly celebrated by single people who get together and eat a popular Korean/Chinese dish called jajangmyeon – which is white noodles in a thick, salty black soybean sauce. There’s no special meaning to the day except that some singles decide to wear black to get the attention of potential singles and they celebrate their loneliness.