Very soon or even from now, we can see some shops with sections full of items related to the celebration of love. This is because February 14 is just around the corner, on this date Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different parts of the world and Korea is no exception. However, the Republic of Korea welcomes it in a different way than the West. In Korea, this day is characterized by giving women the turn to prepare a gift for their loved one, unlike the western countries where the man is the one who usually makes these details. Although this celebration is mainly known for celebrating romantic love, lately it has become more frequent to make such gestures towards the closest friends as a gesture of gratitude and affection. This does not mean that the gifts are the same, you usually see a difference between those aimed at the loved one and those destined for friends.
On the other hand, we have March 14 or better known as “White Day”, which is a celebration of Japanese origin, where men correspond in gratitude to those who had some detail towards them, either in a romantic or friendly way. White represents purity and the name of this celebration seeks to symbolize that pure love towards our special person, making this date the ideal for those who want to declare their love in order to start a relationship sentimental or simply to vent, removing that feeling from their chest and moving forward in search of a new love.
Some will wonder where the singles are among all these celebrations, for our good luck there is a date on which to celebrate our bachelorhood; singles usually go to eat jajangmyeon (plate of Korean black noodles), in addition to wearing the same colour. Although in Korea there is social pressure on the importance of being in a relationship, many people receive this date with pride, as they consider that the independence that brings them being single is something that deserves to be celebrated.
You may have heard about “Kiss Day” on June 14. As we know, public displays of affection are not well seen in Korea, so this holiday especially gives them the perfect opportunity to express their love publicly without being judged. Originally, this celebration was exclusively for couples, but lately, single people take advantage of this day to arm themselves with courage and kiss the person they are in love with to show their interest.
It has happened to them that while watching K-dramas they encounter scenes where the protagonists celebrate their 100-day anniversary, and it is completely normal in Korea since the number 100 is considered a “pure” number due to its etymology. In addition, this period represents the overcoming of different adversities that could happen in the course of the relationship, thus evidencing their great teamwork. Rings are one of the most common gifts on this date, as they seek to “formalize” their relationship, also proving before the public eye that they are together.
Not so long ago we were at home with our families celebrating Christmas like every year, but in Korea, it is a different story, since on this date it is customary to spend the day as a couple or with friends, so it is very common to see couples holding hands and doing different activities together. Unlike the West, Korea is a secular country where not many people are Christians, so this holiday does not focus on gifts, because the exchange between them makes the material in the background.
In spite of the cultural differences that we can find between the different countries, festivities are something that are indistinctly celebrated around the world, not only those mentioned above, because each country has different festivities. What other celebrations do you know?
Written by: Rocio Ruiz
Reviewed by: Luisa Quintero
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