Korean Holidays: The 14ths

June 14, 2011

Podium Kiss

In honor of today, which is a lesser known holiday in Korea, I thought I’d tell you all about the special days in this country that fall on a 14th. There are the more popular ones like Valentine’s Day, White Day, and Black Day, but nearly every month has unique 14th (how ironic it’s also a number to be feared in Asia; the word for four is the same as the word for death) for couples and singles.

January 14th: Diary Day

Couples or friends give each other the gift of blank pages for the new year. It’s said that girls usually do this to encourage their boyfriends to write about their time together.

February 14th: Valentine’s Day

Pretty just what you’d expect. Chocolate sales. Red decorations. Champagne bottles. Except women are expected to give gifts to men. Granted, there’s more of a platonic nature to the events of February 14th in Korea. Remember when you were in primary school, and you had to give cards to every last person in your year, including that fat girl with glasses who liked to hit you? Well, guess what, she turned out to be a bikini model; you shouldn’t have judged her so quickly. In any case, that principle is kind of carried to the workplace. Women give gifts to their male friends, even acquaintances out of a sense of obligation, and out of courtesy and friendship.

March 14th: White Day

This day is more what Americans would expect Valentine’s Day to be: men giving women gifts. It’s not uncommon for most of the gifts to be white in color: white chocolate, white roses, marshmallows, white toys. Again, obligation, courtesy, friendship in the workplace. Give something to the girl in glasses.

April 14th: Black Day

Black Day is unique to South Korea. If you are single, or at the very least had no one to give you something on Valentine’s Day or White Day, you go out in groups and eat jajangmyeon (자장면), noodles with black bean paste. It’s quite tasty… the taste of loneliness.

May 14th: Yellow Day/Rose Day

Although the cherry blossoms may have turned green, the rest of the flowers are in full bloom. Couples are traditionally supposed to wear yellow clothes and exchange bouquets of roses (yes, for men too) as a sign of love. Awwwwwww…. Single people get to eat delicious curry.

June 14th: Kiss Day

Do you really need an explanation? Muchas smooches! (with credit to Calvin and Hobbes)

July 14th: Silver Day

Silver rings are exchanged between couples on this day as a promise to get married. It also happens to be when couples choose to introduce each other to their parents.

August 14th: Green Day

Every day is Green Day for singles. If you’re in a relationship, this is a day to go hiking, walk in a park, or just be out in nature. If you’re single, it’s a day to indulge in massive amounts of that beverage that comes in green bottles, soju (소주).

September 14th: Photo Day/Music Day

As good a day as any to take pictures of each other and finish up with some noraebang (노래방).

October 14th: Wine Day

Although I find Korean wine to be very acidic when compared with a good Australian vintage, I suppose you’ll just have to suck it up and gulp it down… or just buy some Yellow Tail from any Family Mart.

November 14th: Movie Day

Catch a flick. Hopefully there’ll be something good playing.

December 14th: Hug Day

Sounds like a good day to organize a Couchsurfing “Free Hugs” day in Seoul.

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One Response to Korean Holidays: The 14ths

  1. Alice on June 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Wow, I knew about Valentines/White and even Black days, but I didn’t realize it was so elaborate! This is intense!

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