The 14th of the Month in Korea: Beware the Ides of February, March, April, May...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So I got this message from a reader:

Could someone please tell me why the heck Koreans think the 14th is so special?

Thanks,

Lou
Dear Lou,

I think what happened is that since, the 14th of February is Valentine's Day, Asian countries wanted to balance that day with a holiday for the guys. On February 14th  in Korea and Japan, it is customary for WOMEN to give GUYS Chocolate. March 14th is White Day and Men are supposed to give hard candy, dolls, and gifts to women. In Japan, girls are supposed to give handmade chocolate to the boys they like (honmei-choko)  and, the following month, the boys are supposed to return 3 times (sanbai gaeshi ) the value in presents for the chocolate. (Via Wikipedia)

The reason why the other months of the year have special significance is probably for marketing reasons.

Here's a list of the special days:

Dan

January 14th - Diary Day
Couples are meant to give each other a diary or year planner thing, and note down all the rest of these lovely gift-giving days.

February 14th - Valentine's Day
In contrast to Western society, today is traditionally when women give chocolates to their men and confess their love.

March 14th - White Day
Men give candy to the women they love (and flowers and choc and cuddly toys....in fact, anything really!)

April 14th - Black Day
A purely Korean day, for those singletons out there, who havnt received choc or candy so far, console yourselves by eating ja jang myun - a black noodle soup - or other black foods.

May 14th - Rose Day / Yellow Day
Couples exchange roses, and those lonely hearts gather for curry and companionship. Apparently dressing in yellow is also recommended.

June 14th - Kiss Day
As one site puts it: 'Lovers confess their feelings to one another and kiss passionately.' Just another excuse to make out really!!

July 14th - Silver Day
I'm liking this idea - couples can freely ask their friends to give them money to pay for a date! (I shall call this 'free date day'!!) Couples exchange gifts made of silver, and announce their relationship to their friends.

August 14th - Green Day
Couples are supposed to dress in green, and walk outside in the woods (ooh camouflage opportunity!)
Singles drink a (green) bottle of soju to console themselves.

September 14th - Photo & Music Day (I'm really not making these up!)
Any guesses...?! Couples take photographs together, then in the evening go out with friends to noraebangs and night clubs. (Which is what we Westerners do every week, right?!)

October 24th - Apple Day
You ready to learn something? The Korean word for apple, sa-kwa, also means to apologize. On Apple Day, friends, family and couples give an apple to each other to apologize for past mistakes.

November 11th - Pepero Day (Ah yes, the choc stick day!)
A new day that has taken off in South Korea, it is named after a pencil-shaped cookie stick covered in chocolate, given mostly by young Koreans as an expression of their affection.
The 11th day of the 11th month is specifically chosen as the number looks like a Pepero stick. Students exchange the treats with one another with the thought of growing tall and thin (an obsession in Korea, tho don't think eating choc cookies is gonna help there...!)

November 14th - Movie Day & Orange Day
Hmmm...you're supposed to watch a movie and eat an orange on this day. I think it's because the Jeju Oranges come in season.


December 14th - Hug Day
We actually met people in Seoul giving out free hugs last year! Couples are meant to hug one another lovingly to stay warm in the cold winter months.

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