Recent Blog Posts
Spring is upon us and love is in the air! With the days getting warmer and the trees beginning to bloom again, it’s the perfect time of year to cherish your loved ones and perhaps begin a new romantic endeavor. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to let your significant other know exactly how you feel about them and make them feel appreciated. However, that’s the only official romantic holiday that the Western world has to showcase love and affection. On the other hand, love in Korea is an enduring experience with a slew of different love-oriented special occasions to remind those celebrating how important it is to express appreciation and spread the love! Read on to learn about a few of Korea’s holidays devoted to love (or lack thereof).
Black Day – April 14th
Holidays like Valentine’s Day exist to encourage couples to dote on each other and purchase greeting cards. Black Day is on the opposite end of the romantic spectrum – celebrated (so to speak) on April 14th, Black Day is a holiday explicitly for people that are not coupled up. Black Day can be a day of celebration or mourning depending on the person — some people love being single, and some people hate it and can’t wait to jump into their next romantic tryst. No matter how you feel about being single, Black Day is a day to congregate with your fellow single friends (wearing all black, of course) and eat traditional Korean noodle dishes with a black bean sauce. Chances are that black coffee will be there, too. Black Day is a mixture of drama, melancholy, and humor – there’s something for everybody!
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
There’s no escaping this classic holiday – however, in Korea, Valentine’s Day means something a little different than it does in most other countries. If you’re a lady, being in love in Korea on Valentine’s Day means showering the object of your affection with elaborate chocolate treats. It’s thought that there is a direct correlation between the intricacy of the chocolate gifts and the intensity of the emotional attachment of the giver – it’s the perfect time to go over the top with candy and kindness to show the special man in your life how you really feel!
White Day – March 14th
Noticing a pattern yet? That’s right: Korean love holidays tend to becelebrated on the 14th of the month, which is nice because it means you’re less likely to forget an important one, like White Day. White Day is the complement to Valentine’s Day – it’s a day on which men can express their feelings to the special women in their lives with elaborate chocolate and candy. If somebody gives you a gift on Valentine’s Day and you have since developed romantic feelings for them, White Day is the perfect day to return the sentiment!
Rose Day/Yellow Day – May 14th
May 14th is a day that everybody can celebrate, whether you’re single or romantically committed. Couples exchange fresh roses to express their love, and single Koreans get together to eat yellow curry (and hopefully snag a date!). Yellow is a warm color that hints at the beautiful summer quickly approaching, which makes Yellow Day the perfect time for a new special someone to come into your life. Who knows – maybe it’s someone that will take you by surprise!
June 14th – Kiss Day
We all know that roses, chocolates, and curry are only part of what makes being in love in Korea so awesome. Kiss Day, celebrate on June 14th, is a day for celebrating love with kisses and physical affection. Kiss Day would be the perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and show a new romantic partner exactly how much you care. Don’t be shy – everyone will be doing it!
July 14th – Silver Day
Silver Day is a day that’s especially fun for couples that are heating up and starting to get a little more serious. These couples can exchange jewelry, especially matching rings made of silver, which make their intentions clear and take the relationship to the next level. Silver Day is also a day on which it’s acceptable to ask friends for small (silver) change to fund romantic outings. Come on – wouldn’t a good friend be excited to fund your potential happiness? Give it a try!
October 14th – Wine Day
Wine Day is my personal favorite. No matter how good you are at relationships, chances are that you’ll probably be single at some point – even the best things come to an end eventually. Let’s just hope that your bouts with singledom occur on Wine Day, falling on the 14th of October. The woes of being single pair perfectly with an earthy merlot or a sweet moscato. Grab a bottle, put on a moody record, and celebrate the holiday in style!
December 14th – Hug Day/Sock Day
While many of these holidays seem intuitive, December 14th may be a bit of an exception. Hug Day and/or Sock Day is a day when couples are encouraged to spread the love by hugging and expressing affection – or buy purchasing socks for their significant other. On the other hand, who doesn’t love a good pair of warm, fuzzy socks, especially in the middle of winter? Good call, Korea.
Love in Korea is a special phenomenon, and the multitude of holidays for various parts of romantic relationships mean that everybody gets to join in. Single? No problem. See you on Black Day – I’ll bring the black coffee. Just meeting somebody and getting to know them? Great! Pick them up a rose on rose day and show them how much you care. Getting serious about your relationship? Look into getting a silver promise ring on Silver Day, or go straight for a heartfelt kiss on Kiss Day. There’s no right or wrong way to express love in Korea, and taking part in these holidays is a fun cultural experience that brings people together.
Do you have any funny or touching experiences celebrating a holiday on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn
The thing I love most about Spring, is that every Spring feels like the first Spring. It feels like a discovery, a revelation, and a homecoming. Especially in Korea, where the rains come in early summer rather than May, and everyone waits with anticipation for the cherry blossoms to come alive again. There is even a cherry blossom forecast here–it’s pretty amazing. But Spring is also fleeting, as are the cherry blossoms, and every year I find myself wishing I could make time stand still, every March 21st. It’s that feeling that I live for every year, that makes parts of me awaken that I had long forgotten throughout winter. I become whole again.
I’m actually sad more often in Spring, because I spend too much time contemplating the impermanence of cherry blossoms, of warm, sunny days, of my time in Korea, of my life, everything. Yeah, what a bummer, right? Well NOT this year!! I’ve been consciously practicing living in the moment, through meditations and mantras I find helpful to center myself throughout the day.
So in that spirit, this year, on the first day of Spring, we made the hour drive to the southern coast of Busan to see Oryukdo, a series of rock islands that change in number with the tides. They can be seen from the mainland, or if you’re in the sea-faring mood you can catch a ferry from Mipo terminal on Haeundae beach.
We opted to check out the view from the mainland, and my first glimpse was from the car window as we parked behind a long line of cars leading down to the viewing area. We were clearly not the only ones with the same idea, as lines of tour buses and hordes of selfie sticks came into view.
The sun was shining, the ocean breeze blowing, it was the perfect spring day. To see more of what we saw and did there, check out the video! Since starting this post, it has rained for over a week! So if the weather is as dreary where you are, I hope this is a bright spot in your day! Get outside and explore the world you’re in!
This weekend was gray and rainy. I had planned on heading to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival on Sunday, but the weather and my persistent cough didn't really make me want to do anything. I managed to get a sweet pair of prescription glasses (frames, check up, and lenses for KRW 10,000 at Davich!) on Friday night, and Saturday we planned to do some shopping. Checking out my closet I've noticed that I brought a lot of pairs of pants but have been rotating a few shirts. I had planned on wearing tee-shirts or tank tops with cardigans or jackets over top, but with the weight-loss I've seen (a few pounds here and there but I think I've gained some muscle) they fall far too low to wear to school. Being from Toronto, I wear a LOT of black which isn't exactly exciting for my students. My goal, by heading to Seomyeon (the most crowded area in Busan, having a floating population of 165,300 a day), was to shop with B at H&M and to not buy anything black.
Having read some blogs of women I thought were slimmer than I, I assumed that H&M (and sometimes Zara) would be the only places I would be able to shop. This was not the case at all. I've managed to purchase a sweater from a local market (it cost KRW 10,000 and was one of those "one size fits all" which usually never ends up fitting anyone right), and this shopping trip was also very successful. We stepped into the first cute store we saw upon emerging from the subway, which was called MIXXO. Even in Canada I sometimes wonder if the cute new styles will fit me properly. I don't have much going on upstairs (other than a big rib cage), and I have hips and a booty that don't quit so even buying clothes at home can be a bit of a struggle. MIXXO describes its fit as:
will let you find your just right patten ."
I purchased 3 tops that will be good for layering (sometimes it's freezing out and sometimes I'm a sweaty mess throughout the course of the same day), and that will brighten up my closet and outfits. The yellow shirt (pictured above) was one that I liked but apparently looked weird from the back so I made sure to limit myself to 3. The white one does, indeed, have palm trees and parrots as the pattern. It makes me giggle. A couple of the blouses are quite loose, but being that I do have a North American rib cage and let's face it - there's some "support" in all my bras, the medium would have just been too tight across the bust. Oversize shirts are really popular in Korea. Nothing is tight or low cut on top, but it is true that you'll see Korean ladies wear very, very short shorts and skirts.
It’s cherry blossom season here in South Korea, which means roads throughout the country are lined with beautiful flowering trees! The conditions are perfect for a Saturday morning bike ride, and the small naval port town of Jinhae welcomes thousands who flock its streets to take in the views at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival! Enjoy!