Happy White Day!

So, White Day 화이트데이 is finally here! After a month of torment and sleepless nights I will finally find out whether my Valentine will reciprocate my gift and my love (we’re about to celebrate our 6 year anniversary so he’ll be in the doghouse until next year’s White Day if he doesn’t!)

Although the 14th of every month has some kind of romantic significance for Korean couples (see here!), the 14th of February, March and April are the most widely celebrated. The girls give chocolates to their loved ones or crushes on February 14th, and the guys then have a month to consider their options before giving a present to the girls in their life on White Day.

White Day is observed in several countries across east Asia, including Japan, China, Taiwan and of course, South Korea. It was first celebrated in Japan during the 1970’s, after the National Confectionery Industry Association proposed an ‘answer day’ to Valentine’s Day. Consequently, many people think of White Day as nothing more than an elaborate marketing ploy, created purely to boost confectionery sales.

The tradition began by giving marshmallows or white chocolate, but recently gifts of jewellery, cosmetics and even designer handbags have become popular. According to department store statistics, the spending on White Day is much higher than during Valentine’s week, and increases by 10-20% each year. Unfortunately for the boys, they are expected to splash out a lot more than the girls!

Happy White Day!

Valentine’s Day – Korean Style!

It’s February 14th and love is most definitely in the air in Korea. But as usual, Koreans do things a little differently…

As if to avoid the awkwardness of presenting somebody with a Valentine’s present and them not give you one back, in Korea they have one day for women to give gifts to men, and another for men to give gifts to women.

On February 14th it is only women who give chocolates to men. Store-bought chocolates are given to a guy you like, but if you really love somebody you make them yourself!

Then, having had a month’s cooling off period to think about it, White Day on March 14th offers men the chance to give a girl a present, usually non-chocolate candy.

Korea also has a day reserved for those who didn’t receive a Valentine’s gift or a White Day gift. April 14th is known as Black Day, when the unlucky ones who did not receive any Valentine’s gifts get together and eat black noodles to ‘mourn’ their singledom and wallow in self pity.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the 14th day of every month has some ‘significance’ for Korean lovebirds!

  • January 14th – Candle Day
  • February 14th – Valentine’s Day
  • March 14th – White Day
  • April 14th – Black Day
  • May 14th – Rose Day
  • June 14th – Kiss Day
  • July 14th – Silver Day
  • August 14th – Green Day
  • September 14th – Music Day
  • October 14th – Wine Day
  • November 14th – Movie Day
  • December 14th – Hugs Day