February is a month full of love. You may see hearts, chocolates, and flowers colored in pink everywhere this month as it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow! As you know, South Korea may be one of the most romantic and “lovey-dovey” country in the world so you probably wonder.. how is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Korea?
Valentine’s Day in Korea is a bit different from Valentine’s Day elsewhere in world. If we take Indonesia as an example, Valentine’s Day is the only day that celebrates love in a year. Guys give their beloved ones chocolates and flowers and ask them out for romantic dinners. But in Korea, there are a lot of “love” celebrations in a year. In fact, Valentine’s Day is one of 12 “love days” celebrated on the 14th of every month in Korea. These days range from the popular “White Day” or depressing “Black Day” for singles, to the unusual “Hug Day”.
Originating from this date, the 14th of every month is designated as the special day for events. Most special days target young couples, but some special days target single people. One exception to the 14th of every month-rule is the month of November, which has two special days — the 11th and the 14th. On November 11, people usually exchange peppero sticks on this day because these peppero sticks resemble the date (11/11).
These are the list of every 14th of each month,starting from January :
01월14일: 다이어리데이 (Diary Day). Couples exchange yearly planners in which they mark their plans, anniversaries, birthdays and other important dates.
02월14일: 밸런타인데이 (Valentine’s Day)
03월14일: 화이트데이 (White Day). Men’s turn to confess and express his love and affection for that special someone by giving her candies and gifts.
04월14일: 블랙데이 (Black Day). Black Day is designated especially for singles. They eat black noodles (jajangmyeon) together to express their singleness.
05월14일: 로즈데이 (Rose Day). On this day, couples exchange roses.
06월14일: 키스데이 (Kiss Day). Kiss everyone you meet on this day.
07월14일: 실버데이 (Silver Day). People exchange silver accessories.
08월14일: 그린데이 (Green Day). Couples seek nature and relax while singles drink Soju to drown their loneliness.
09월14일: 포토데이 (Photo Day).Take a picture together with your significant other in a romantic place and put it in a special place to look at.
10월14일: 와인데이 (Wine Day). Enjoy wine with someone special.
11월14일: 무비&오렌지데이 (Movie & Orange Day).Couples go to watch a movie at the cinema and eat oranges.
12월14일: 허그데이 (Hug Day). Couples hug each other in the winter to chase away the cold.
As stated before, Valentine’s Day in Korea is a bit different from Valentine’s Day elsewhere in world. In many parts of the world, it is the guy who usually gives his beloved one chocolate or flowers or candies. But in Korea, it is the other way around. It’s the girls who give chocolates to the guys. If a woman wants to confess her love for a man, or express her feelings for him, this is the day to give that special someone some chocolate. Traditionally, men that receive these gifts will give a gift in return the following month on White Day. This has been changing in recent years, as retailers have begun targeting Men and Women on both days. The streets of Korea begin to line itself with chocolate-filled lace baskets about a week prior to Valentine’s Day. This day particularly makes a large profit in department stores, hotels, chocolate stores, bakeries, jewelry stores, and doll stores.
There are two types of chocolates that girls usually give their beloved ones in Korea:
Type one: The “cheap” one.
These chocolates are the ones that you could buy in any convenience store. It’s usually mass produced and the price is relatively cheap. These chocolates are seen as “effortless” because you don’t spend much time and effort in giving those, so the “cheap” chocolate types are usually given as a courtesy goes to all the men in their life (father, boy-friends, best friends, etc)
Type two : The “expensive” one.
The “expensive” ones are either handmade chocolates or the special chocolates sold in luxurious bakeries and cafes. These chocolates are given when a girl has someone she likes/ loves. She may decide to show her feelings by taking the time to create handmade chocolates. Around Valentine’s Day, bookshops and convenience stores in Korea begin to sell lots more of the equipment required to make chocolates. If you have ever seen the popular drama ‘Boy Over Flowers’, you may remember the lead character Geum Jan Di making chocolates for her love interest Goo Jun Pyo.
For those who doesn’t have time to make their own chocolate, then buying luxury handmade chocolates is also an option and many of the more upscale chocolate brands and European style bakeries (such as Paris Baguette) have special ranges and designs for Valentine’s day.
For couples that are already officially dating, they will spend Valentine’s day by having a dinner in a romantic café or restaurant, or have a date in the amusement park. They will use couple things such as couple tees, couple shoes, or couple rings. There are a lot of special prices and discounts for couples in this special day such as a “buy one get two” promotions for ice creams or movie tickets.
Talking about South Korea, you will never forget the K-stars. In Valentine’s days, many Kpop idols and movie actors share their love via SNS( Social medias) by uploading their picture holding chocolates and other Valentine “thingy”. They would say their gratitude and love for their families, friends, and also the loyal fans.
It is interesting to see how different holidays are celebrated in different parts of the world and these celebrations say a lot about Korea’s couple culture!
So…how are you going to celebrate your Valentine’s day?
해피발렌타인 데이! Happy Valentine’s day! May you share your love to your loved ones in this special day!