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Valentine’s Day in South Korea

Our fourth and last country for our Asian week is South Korea.

Remember how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Japan? Well, South Korea has adapted this Japanese tradition: On Valentine’s Day (February 14th), guys are pampered by their girls, and on White Day (March 14th), men give them gifts in return. However, this doesn’t end here!

For those single guys and ladies who don’t have anyone to celebrate with on Valentine’s Day or White Day, there’s another holiday called ‘Black Day’. This is celebrated on April 14th – one month after the White Day – and on this date, all the singles can celebrate their single status by following the tradition of eating Jajajnmyeon (자장면), which is basically a bowl of black noodles. Some people see this day as depressing but some others see it as a way to celebrate independency. Most still secretly hope that they will meet another sad/single noodle eating on this day and be a couple in time for next month’s holiday and skip next Black Day.

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Do you think this is the end of celebration of love in South Korea? It’s not! Apparently Koreans are kind of romantic and decided to celebrate a different unofficial holiday every 14 of each month during the whole year. It means, the have 12 love days in the year, although the main dates that receive all the attention are Valentine’s Day and White day.

January 14th     = Candle day (Koreans give and receive decorative candles)

February 14th   = Valentine’s Day (Guys receive chocolates)

March 14th        = White Day (Girls receive romantic gifts)

April 14th           = Black Day (Singles eat black noodles together)

May 14th             = Rose Day (Couples dress in yellow and give each other roses)

June 14th            = Kiss Day (Couples kiss –pretty obvious!- and it’s a good day to start a relationship with a kiss).

July 14th              = Silver Day (Silver rings are exchanged on this day between couples with plans of marriage)

August 14th         = Green Day (Lovers drink Soju, a harsh alcohol drink similar to vodka, and make romantic walks).

September 14th = Music/Photo Day (Photo booths and karaoke are in high demand on this date)

October 14th      = Wine Day (Another obvious date… Couples drink wine)

November 14th = Movie Day (People go to movie rooms, which is similar but better than the cinema)

December 14th = Hug Day (… Do I need to explain it?)

Now let’s learn some words, expressions and terms of endearment in Korean for this special day:

  • Haepi Ballentain Dei (해피 발렌타인 데이)      =      Happy Valentine’s Day
  • Sarang haeyo (사랑해요.)                                     =      I love you
  • neoreul mani joahae (너를 많이 좋아해)           =      I like you a lot
  • nae sarang (내 사랑)                                              =      My love

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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