“You probably have no idea what you mean to me in my life. You are my first love, my last love, and my life.” – 18 Again (2020) In South Kor...
“You probably have no idea what you mean to me in my life. You are my first love, my last love, and my life.” – 18 Again (2020)
In South Korea, they dedicated their 14th of the month in celebrating their traditional "12 love days." It is contrary to the Western culture in which we celebrate only the 14th of February, the Valentine's day. However, even the traditional way of celebrating Valentine's day, South Koreans had their way.
1. Valentine's Day (February 14th)
Source: Google, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo
In South Korea, only women give chocolate to men on this day. This is a great occasion for women to confess their love to men. So single women can gather all their courage and grab this day to let their men know their feelings. The women may feel encouraged to make the chocolates by themselves or they might also get some high-quality handmade chocolates from chocolate shops, including the man’s initials on top of the chocolate.
If you want to greet someone “Happy Valentine’s Day” this year, you can say 해피 발렌타인 데이! (haepi ballentain dei!)
2. White Day (March 14th)
Source: Google, True Beauty
White Day is the man's turn to show his affection with sugary sweetness, and takes place a month after Valentine's day on March 14th. The name stems from the giving of primarily white gifts, like white chocolate and lingerie, by men as an answer to Valentine's Day gifts.
Some people follow the so called "Rule of Three" which dictates that the reciprocal gift given by the man must be roughly 3 times the value of the gift he received on Valentine's Day.
3. Black Day (April 14th)
Source: KDramaStars, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Singles congregate on April 14th, otherwise known as "Black Day" to eat Jjajyangmyeon (Black Noodles) with other single friends. Others, however, are proud of being independent and consider Black Day a time to honor themselves.
4. Rose Day (May 14th)
Source: KDramaStars, Angel's Last Mission: Love
When May flowers are in full bloom, couples put on yellow clothing and exchange bouquets of roses, preferably yellow ones. They’ll often dress up in matching outfits, which is another whimsical way of showing that they are a pair. On May 14, singles can partake in the holiday by eating Korean yellow curry, in an attempt to spice up their love lives.
5. Kiss Day (June 14th)
Source: KDramaStars, Crash Landing On You
Public displays of affection are discouraged in Korean culture, but Kiss Day gives partners an excuse to break free from that social norm. On June 14, couples can go out to summer events, such as a pool party, and lock lips without drawing stares.
6. Silver Day (July 14th)
Source: Preview, It's Okay To Not Be Okay
As the relationship grows more serious, it’s time to exchange silver promise rings that signify the couple’s commitment. Visit a Korean jewelry store together, and try on paired rings in decorated boxes. Often, partners engrave each other’s names inside the metallic bands. Silver Day also tends to be the occasion to meet the parents, as the culture often emphasizes family approval in all matters.
7. Green Day (August 14th)
Source: Soompi, My Love from the Star
On August 14, couples might meet up for a stroll in Seoul Forest, followed by a picnic under the trees with a bottle of soju. In Korea, this clear distilled alcohol always comes in green bottles of the same size and shape. This is because, in 2009, all soju makers agreed to use these containers for the ease of recycling, adding yet another “green” element to the day.
8. Photo Day (September 14th)
Source: Google, Backstreet Rookie
September is dedicated to two of the favorite pastimes of many young people in South Korea: photo-taking and singing. On this holiday, couples cram into photo sticker booths to take cute snapshots. After photos have been taken, the lovers can then browse special K-pop releases at a music store and belt out duets in a private noraebang (Korean karaoke room).
9. Wine Day (October 14th)
Source: JustWatch, What's Wrong with Secretary Kim
On October 14, cheers your relationship with a bottle of wine. Though Koreans have not historically drunk wine made from grapes, the beverage has become more popular in recent decades, as international cuisine and imports have become more available. Couples can also share a bottle of local pink-colored wine made from fruits, such as raspberry or omija (magnolia berry).
10. Movie Day (November 14th)
Source: Koreaboo, Descendants of the Sun
Movie Day gives couples a reason to watch a romantic film in a theater, however, many prefer to rent out a private screening room for a movie of their choosing. Couples can choose a DVD from the extensive library, and snuggle up to watch it on the big screen. The most luxurious DVD-bangs have reclining seats, plush cushions, and a section of snacks–all the ingredients for a memorable date night.
11. Hug Day (December 14th)
Source: Google, Pinocchio
A warm embrace is especially welcome in chilly December. On Hug Day, couples squeeze each other tight. Since hugs are free, brands have encouraged couples to exchange pairs of socks as another way of staying toasty. Many boutiques offer themed legwear with cute winter designs, such as polar bears peeking out from the top of the band.
12. Diary Day (January 14th)
Source: Manila Bulletin, King the Land
The New Year presents an opportunity to reboot a relationship. On Diary Day, partners buy each other yearly planners so that they can keep track of all their upcoming date nights, and write down fond memories in the blank journal pages. Stationery stores are popular in South Korea, making participation in this holiday relatively easy.
There are multiple ways to show or express your feelings to your loved ones. In Korea, they have monthly celebrations for couples. These celebrations are gentle reminders that even the smallest things in life or in a relationship matters and are worth celebrating for. You don't necessarily need to wait for every 14th of the month because you have every single day to share your love and accept love from others.
References: Carmina, L. (2021). South Korea Celebrates 14 Romantic Holidays Every Year. Here’s the Full Calendar. Fodors Travel Guide. https://www.fodors.com/world/asia/south-korea/experiences/news/photos/south-korea-celebrates-14-romantic-holidays-every-year/