Many of our readers know that I am writing a series of blog posts featuring Korean culture as a special project in collaboration with the Korean Embassy in Qatar. And in time for Valentine’s Day, it would also be nice to know how “our most romantic Asian neighbors” actually celebrate this day. If many K-drama fans are already giggling over some scenes by their favorite actors, how would they usually be in real life?
Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world on February 14 by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family, and friends or by exchanging flowers, chocolates, or handmade or store-bought “Valentines” (greeting cards). Over the years, it has become highly commercialized, thanks to companies like Hallmark for mass producing special greeting cards we can send out on special occasions like Valentine’s Day and other occasions.
HOW DIFFERENT IS VALENTINE’S DAY IN KOREA?
Usually, Valentine’s Day is a time for men to send out tokens of affection and initiate romantic dates with their loved ones. But in Korea, February 14 used to be reserved for the woman to give chocolates and gifts to her man or her crush, not the other way around. Korean men can express their love by giving candies and gifts to their women or crushes on White Day, on March 14th. CHECK THIS ARTICLE THAT I READ AND YOU’LL GET MORE JUICY DETAILS ABOUT KOREAN VALENTINES DAY – https://mimsonthemove.com/
As of late, modern Koreans follow the Western way of celebrating Valentines and exchange their token of affections to each other on Valentines Day. Thanks to the recent vlog of Jessica Lee (a 21 year old Korean Youtuber based in the Philippines), she confirmed that ladies giving chocolates to their special someone is still being practiced – jump to 1:20 to watch it. I needed this confirmation just to make sure I get it right – even asked from Korean friends in Qatar to confirm this before sharing this post. AND GLAD TO KNOW IT IS STILL HAPPENING.
Interestingly, we also discovered 12 other unofficial “love holidays” that few couples nowadays are still observing every 14th of the month with Valentine’s Day and White Day are the most popular before. source: https://bestofkorea.com/
January 14th is DIARY DAY. On this day, a couple gives each other a diary as a gift and they each write down their feelings, sentiments, yearly goals, resolutions, anniversaries, and anything else in the diary. Read more here: https://www.littleseoulster.com/january-14-diary-day/
February 14th is VALENTINE’S DAY and a woman gives chocolate and a gift to her partner. This is also an opportunity for a girl to express her love to her crush. Read more here: https://korealandscape.net/valentine-day-korea/
March 14th is WHITE DAY for Korea and this is the day a man gives candies and gifts to the special person in his life. This day is also an opportunity for guys to confess their love to their crush. Know more about it here: https://www.90daykorean.com/white-day-in-korea/
April 14th is BLACK DAY for Korean singles and broken hearts. On this day, single Korean people meet each other wearing black clothes and eat jjajangmyeon, black noodles. Know more about it here: https://gogohanguk.com/en/blog/what-is-black-day-in-korea/
May 14th is YELLOW DAY. Korean young couples put on matching outfits and exchange bouquets of yellow roses. Also, single people can celebrate this day by eating Korean-style yellow curry. Read more here: https://socoolkorea.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/14th-day-series-may-14-is-rose-day-yellow-day-in-korea/
June 14th is KISS DAY. Couples display their affection for each other by kissing on this day. Obviously, it is not the only day they kiss. But on the 14th of June, they do it in public freely, without being frowned upon, since Public Displays of Affection (or PDA:) are not the norm in Korean culture.
July 14th is Silver Day. Korean young couples exchange rings to show how devoted they are to each other. These rings are called “couple rings” and are different from engagement and wedding rings. Couple Rings signify their commitment to each other.
August 14th is Green Day. This day is when couples hang out in beautiful nature to celebrate their relationship on this day. The drink of this day is Soju because of its green bottle. Singles can console their singleness by drinking Soju on this day, too.
September 14th is Photo Day. It’s a day for selfies, taking fun pictures in photo sticker booths, or going to professional photo studios to take memorable pictures for couples.
October 14th is Wine Day. Couples cheer on their love for each other with a bottle of vino or two.
November 14th is Movie Day. Couples celebrate their love on this day by watching their favorites together. They can go to the movie theater or DVD bang where they rent a room and DVD with a big TV. Clearly, the most popular genre is rom-com. Read more here: https://www.littleseoulster.com/november-14th-movie-day/
December 14th is Hug Day. What a way to end the year! On a cold winter day, what would be a better way to show affection than to your beloved by hugging them? Read more here: https://www.littleseoulster.com/december-14th-hug-day/
HOW TO SAY “Happy Valentine’s Day” IN KOREAN
If you want to greet someone “Happy Valentine’s Day” this year, you can say 해피 발렌타인 데이 (sa-rang-han-de-i)! (haepi ballentain dei!)
A BEAUTIFUL BACK STORY OF HOW VALENTINES DAY CAME ABOUT
It was only in the 3rd century AD that the man who would later become Saint Valentine was executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II. While there are many legends about him and others with the same name, it’s widely believed that Claudius sent Valentine to prison for helping loved-up Christian couples get married at a time when it was forbidden.
During his time in prison, Valentine tutored a young blind woman called Julia who was the daughter of his jailer. The story goes that God restored Julia’s sight after the two prayed together. And on the evening before his execution, Valentine wrote a note to her and signed it with, “From your Valentine.”
Despite the multiple legends around this man and others like him, the Catholic Church declared this Valentine a saint and listed him as a martyr on February 14 – aka. St Valentine’s Day.