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Valentine's Day In Korea Is A Little Different

BY Julie Jones | Feb 10, 2015 10:09 AM EST


If you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day in Korea, you may be surprised at how different it is. Although Valentine's Day or Red Day is still considered a romantic holiday, traditionally it is men who get the gifts and women who give them. If your man is Korean, he may expect you to give him chocolates. It's even better if the chocolates are custom-made confections that feature his initials or if you personally made them.

Remember in "Boys Over Flowers" when Geum Jan Di, played by Gu Hye Sun, made chocolates in the shape of Gu Jun Pyo's face? They feature squiggles of chocolate to replicate his funny curly hair. For the self-centered Gu Jun Pyo, played by Lee Min Ho, it was the perfect gift.

If you live in Korea and have yet to express your affection for a particular man, Valentine's Day could be the occasion. You may want to follow Geum Jan Di's example.

As February 14 draws closer, it's not unusual to see women lining up outside of the stores that make chocolates or cakes. Valentine's Day sales can make up a fifth of a confectioner's yearly business.

But if it seems unfair that men are the beneficiaries of romantic gifts on Valentine's Day, be assured that it more than evens out. There's another day for men to return the favor and there's even a day for singles to get together and mourn their unhitched state.

First, there's "White Day" which takes place on March 14. The day was first celebrated almost four decades ago in Japan. On that day the man shows his affection with gifts. They can be white gifts, such as white chocolate or lingerie but they don't have to be. The gifts men give are generally expected to be more lavish than the gifts they received.

Singles also have a day of their own, Black Day, which takes place on April 14. On that day singles that do not have a valentine can meet to eat Jajangmyeon or black noodles with their single friends. But not all Koreans feel the need to advertise their single state by meeting for black noodles.

Couples have even more days to celebrate their relationship. There's Rose Day in May, Kiss Day in June, Silver Day in July, Green Day in August, Photo Day in September, Movie Day in November and Hug Day in December.

Another day on which Koreans like to exchange gifts is on Pepero Day, which is November 11. The day is named after a popular snack.

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