How Koreans Do Valentine’s Day! (It’s More Complicated Than You Think…)

As Americans, we’re used to having to think about Valentine’s Day aka “Singles Awareness Day” just once a year, and then it’s forgotten again until next year, but in South Korea, it’s a lot more…complicated than that! And, it all starts earlier than February 14th! See, the confectionary gift giving officially starts on November 11th, or “Pepero Day”! On that day, smitten couples and hopeful couples give each other the delicious, straw shaped cookie biscuits known as Pepero. This is probably a good indicator on how you will fare during the following romantic holidays, which could turn out to be the beginning of a painful chain of events!

Next in the calendar comes Valentine’s Day, where we find ourselves currently. Couples all around the U.S. are surprising each other with lavish gifts to showcase their affection for one another, usually of the chocolate variety, but in Korea (as well as other parts of Asia), today is reserved for women to present chocolates to the men of their dreams! That’s right, the guys just get to sit back patiently awaiting their chocolate adoration, while the women scramble around to find or make the perfect token of their love! How is that fair? Well, next comes White Day.

On March 14th, exactly a month after Valentine’s Day, men who received chocolate are expected to return the favor with similar (or grander) gifts to repay their thoughtful lovers. And, if you happen to find that you had not received chocolate on Valentine’s Day, or reciprocal chocolate from White Day, then prepare yourself for celebrating a “darker” kind of holiday. On April 14th, two months after the initial “day of love”, those who were left out of the festivities celebrate Singles Day aka “Black Day”. Yes, there is a whole day dedicated to those cast aside by Cupid, and on that day, singles are expected to dress in black, or eat Jajangmyeon, the black Korean noodle dish that symbolizes the dark feelings of their lonely hearts.

Image by Lee Jae-Won vis REUTERS

So, moral of the story? Be popular and receive chocolates or else you’ll find yourself sadly eating Jajangmyeon, dressed in black as a symbol of your forever alone-ness. Frankly, we think Jajangmyeon is delicious, and don’t mind eating it again this year on March 14th. Don’t mind at all. Not one bit.   STAY CONNECTED WITH US!   Website: Facebook Page: Twitter: G+ Page: Instagram: Snapchat: nuttynomads   Be sure to sign up for our Newsletter!