Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Culture: Happy Valentine's from Korea

Since it is Valentine's Day all over the world today, let me take the chance to wish everyone a:

Happy Valentine's Day

Living in such a male-chauvinistic society, surely you jester that Korean men must spend phenomenal amounts during this commercialized holiday?

On the contrary... it is the women who do all the work on Valentine's Day.

In Korea, the year's calendar has been infested with so much commercialization that it's not even funny. A special day is created oh-so-often, concurrently with clever marketing plans to take over the world. Playing on the theme of Valentine's, a 'special day' (Ehem!) has been created for the 14th day of each month, each to it's own bullshit story. Note that even the Koreans I know dismiss most of these days without even a whim.

Read on about what people coin to be COMMERCIAL holidays in Korea if you want to find out why MEN should do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on Valentine's Day!

  • 14th January ~ Diary Day:
    Lovers exchange fresh new diaries, signifying the start of a new year. If you two have been together for a while, hopefully your lover will FINALLY remember your birthday this year by writing it down in the diary.

    *D'uh... Buy a PDA!

  • 14th February ~ Valentine's Day:
    In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine who was martyred in 269 A.D. for holding on to Christianity.

    Back in those days, lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. On the eve of the Roman festival of Lupercalia however, which is Valentine’s, would be the only day that girls are allowed to show their feelings. Over time, February 14th became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers.

    Following that tradition, it is the day when Korean women GIVE men chocolates as an embodiment of their intention to shag admiration. A gift would also be appropriate. The male has a ONE-month period to decide whether he accepts her invitation to shag heart.

    *Guys: Don't do ANYTHING today, unless you want to ruin her efforts! ;)

  • 14th March ~ White Day:
    So the deadline is up, and White Day is the day for the men (only) to take action.

    On this day, if a man accepts the heart of the woman who confessed her love for him on Valentine’s Day, he will present her/his lover with candy. Otherwise, he will have to return her gift.

    *Wake up! She'll expect more than JUST chocolates...

  • 14th April ~ Black Day:

    Black day is the day commemorated by either single men or women who have been disappointed with the passing of Valentine's and White days without a partner. On this day, participants will be dressed from head to toe in black EVERYTHING, including clothes, shoes, socks and accessories.

    Lest we forget, black coffee and black sauce noodles ~ Jajangmyeon (자장면) are also consumed as an act of solidarity. To me, wearing black is just another excuse to spot out the single chicks so guys can hit on them.

    *Getting hitched on this day is allowed!

  • 14th May ~ Yellow and Rose Day:
    Since Black Day is a day where single people mourn their sad lonely singlehood, Yellow day is the day you pray to get OUT of it.

    As the name implies, you wear everything yellow, and eat curry, which is also (almost) Yellow. Since May is also the season where Roses flourish, this day is also called ‘Rose Day’. As the atmosphere is supposedly good, it will be a day where couples give each other roses, as a sign of a developing relationship.

    *How bout praying for an upgrade?

  • 14th June ~ Kiss Day:
    In the event that things have been working out great between a couple up until Yellow day, a first kiss will be in the works on this day.

    After the nice and fuzzy feelings have worn off, either from getting your tongue stuck in the other's braces, or basically from bad technique... this is ALSO the day in the year when couples sit down and CONFESS.

    They are supposed to talk about everybody they’ve ever been with, kissed, or felt up. Since traditionally, rain is supposed to fall annually on this day, it will be coupled with the tears of joy couples share upon receiving painfully detailed accounts of each other’s sexual exploits.

    *Oh sorry honey... got to go out of country for a project from the 13th ~ 15th!

  • 14th July ~ Silver Day:
    This is the day where the lover is introduced for the first time to one’s seniors, including those at school, the work place, as well as the parents. On this day, the seniors will have to present the lovers with money, or silver. Lovers may also exchange gifts made of silver.

    *Only introducing her 5 months after she proposed in Feb 14th... is she THAT ugly?

  • 14th August ~ Green Day:
    Days of summer will be hot and unforgiving in this month. Lovers will hence seek out cooler environs, to go hand in hand for a walk in the forests. People with no lovers, will drink hard liquor with a Green theme to cheer up.

    *I bet you the XXX Soju Co. invented this one!

  • 14th September ~ Music and Photo Day:
    Having introduced the lover to your family and seniors, it's probably time to introduce her to your mates. Have a party, crank the music up, and get the girl to come over and see how the boys get sloshed on Soju. Take incriminating evidence on film if you'd like.

    *You'd be pretty lucky if she'd still hang around.

  • 14th October ~ Wine Day:
    It's the day to get serious and sit down to talk about whether you two were meant for each other. Choose a nice restaurant, have a wine, get tipsy... then maybe she'll agree to marrying you and still let you spend your salary at your discretion after marriage.

    *In some Korean families I know, women manage ALL of the $$. Ouch!

  • 14th November ~ Orange and Movie Day:
    As if selling I Love You Day Pepero sticks on the 11th of November wasn't enough for the corporate thugs... they now insist that we watch movies, and buy more orange juice?!


    Consuming the slightly sour orange juice is supposed to be a reminder to couples of the 'sour' times they promise to share together in the days ahead.

    *Are the theatrics really necessary?

  • 14th December ~ Hug Day:
    Baby it's cold outside... gimme a hug!

    *I wonder if love motel businesses are also better during that day...

Since I am living in Korea now, it'd be best that I follow the local practices... Alright ladies, show me the money!


At February 14, 2006 1:51 PM, Anonymous Antonia said...

Mmm.. soju is <3

At February 14, 2006 2:33 PM, Blogger hteekay said...

I'm singing up to live at korea now!!! which part are you at now? north or south?

their tradition does feel the same as Japanese ones...

At February 14, 2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous G said...

Hmm...I learned a lot today.

I knew about white and black days, but the rest...hmm.

That's my final comment on this issue. Hmm.

At February 14, 2006 4:07 PM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

Antonia: Some soju are nice and sweet, some are just nasty. Jinro and Ipsaeju are some nice ones.

hteekay: I'm in the South of the Korean peninsula/South Korea. I don't think the current dictator in North Korea would fancy Valentine's Day too much. Not sure about Japanese culture, sorry.

G: Haha. Don't worry, I never knew either. Multiple sources on some Korean sites confirm at least the names of these months are true. Check out one of the Korean sites I was kinda translating from 'HERE'.

At February 14, 2006 6:01 PM, Anonymous smashpOp said...

u did a thorough research before this eh?

At February 14, 2006 6:59 PM, Anonymous yuki said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you!!

Sounds too much to handle, seems so complicated, why confuse the matter?

Guess LOVE is one thing that's simply confusing!!

At February 14, 2006 9:26 PM, Anonymous louyau said...

Wah lau ... so 14th every month is like ...... couples day? scary

At February 15, 2006 12:06 AM, Blogger Bishop said...

Great post! I had no idea Koreans had so many "Couples" days. My wife had told me about White and Black day.

At February 15, 2006 2:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Koreans should formally ban Peperro Day, 11 November as this coincides with Rememberance Day/Veterans Day in the US/Canada. If it wasn't for the efforts of out brave soldiers, I can pretty much assume that the Koreans would be speaking a mixture of German/Japanese/Chinese or all of the above.

At February 15, 2006 5:47 AM, Anonymous ul said...

hteekay: The concept of white day came over from Japan to Korea. But it's just Korea that has a black day.
(learned of this while watching some jpop boy group was meeting Jeon Jihyun).

At February 15, 2006 8:16 AM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

Smashpop: I translated (kind of) a Korean page. The link is posted in my reply to G (see above).

Yuki: It's always complicated. But yeah, that's Korean marketing for yah!

Louyau: Thank God not all women take these commercial holidays seriously.

Bishop: Yes, I also went "What the..." when I first heard it.

Anonymous: I guess when the marketers thought of Pepero Day, they really weren't in the frame of mind to think of who else's significant days of remembrance are going on. It's more of a gimmick than anything else. Take it easy... :)

ul: Great info. Thanks. :)

At February 15, 2006 11:50 AM, Blogger Jo said...

Wow! comprehensive info...*LOL*
thanks god that i was not born on 14 of the month.. *grin*

14th January ~ Diary Day:
believe that only neeed to remember one special date (b*day)in the heart is not a tough job..anyway, men is aint good to remember those numbering (in term of date). Women will always remember those special days. erm..just need to fully utilize ur mobile / PDA will do.

14th February ~ Valentine's Day:
who don't love affection? well, everyday also can be a valentine's day tho...*LOL*

4th March ~ White Day:
got such thing if not fancy the gal have to return back the gift one ah...

14th April ~ Black Day:
Today sunshine will love those who's wearing black colour..can absorb more HEAT. ^o^ This yr 14 April is BLACK FRIDAY. *Thanks god is friday?*

14th May ~ Yellow and Rose Day:
Wah..can see lots of 'banana' walking around..o_O How about 'pink panther'? since rose day mah..any pinkish? oh yeah..i think this day also falls on mother's day..

14th June ~ Kiss Day:
wahlao..have to wait till this day to kiss? *LMAO*

14th July ~ Silver Day:
I tot just like 'silver anniversary' like marriage..???

14th August ~ Green Day:
aw...poor thing for those eligible bachelors...

14th September ~ Music and Photo Day:
celebration? if can get someone is party animal, tat would b great...

14th October ~ Wine Day:
remember to order a bottle of chateau lafite to impress her. *LOL*

14th November ~ Orange and Movie Day:
dip the orange with sugar loh...BITTERSWEET one..

14th December ~ Hug Day:
wahlao...craving for hugs..can we open one little stall just purely provide hugging service?

At February 15, 2006 1:54 PM, Blogger Jo said...

check this out

now malaysia guys can ordered kisses & romantic phrases to be delivered to their sweethearts.

At February 15, 2006 2:14 PM, Anonymous Antonia said...

I like Jinro Gold. Especially mixed with Sprite or lemon juice. Mmmm...

At February 15, 2006 2:27 PM, Anonymous lionel said...

Holy crap, this calendar's a nightmare.

At February 15, 2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

Jo: Post order kisses are just plain gross!

Antonia: I haven't tried that combination, but a soju bomb is common among the folks I work with.

*Soju bomb - Soju in a shot glass dropped into beer, and mixture drank immediately in one shot. Wicked!

Lionel: Believe me it's absurd.

At February 15, 2006 6:03 PM, Anonymous Laynie said...

That sure as heck sounds stressful! Birthday, anniversary, in-laws' birthdays, Christmas, Vday... That's a lot of days to swing at the mercy of your partner's approval. But Hug Day sounds like a good one... :)

At February 15, 2006 7:20 PM, Anonymous jo said...

post ordered kisses...YUCK! gross yet still have to pay... hahaha
dun have personal touch woh...
can't feel the passionate...*LOL*
better do it urself..

At February 16, 2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Kurios1978 said...

Laynie: Hug day sounds fine... just wondering... if they had 13 months, probably the next logical progression would be Motel Day??

Jo: Personal touch is good. But if gf in country X, I'm in country Y how ah? :P

At February 16, 2006 10:47 AM, Blogger Jo said...

Vincent, then u save the best for the last o....aiya...kiss u can keep, don't have expiry date one..till u see ur gf then u can give her all u have.. *LOL*
oh yeah..can give virtual one...may b thru phone? :p like that *muakssss* *LOL*

At February 17, 2006 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, distance is not a problem for a relationship...
have u ever heard of long distance relationship?

At February 19, 2006 12:55 PM, Anonymous gene said...

wow...that is indeed strange...


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