Thursday, February 12, 2009

Black and White of Valentine's Day - the Korean Way

I like this note by a Mensa member, Sam who is Korean. I asked for his permission to publish this in my blog.

********ooo OOO ooo *******

I've heard about this sometime ago, but with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I've been hearing it being mentioned among the Koreans quite often recently.

Apparently, Valentine's Day has taken a different twist when it became a part of new Korean culture. According to Yahoo! Korea, Valentine's Day is a day when "ladies profess their love interest by giving the men chocolate and flowers."

On the flip side, another day of unknown origin has been set aside for the men to do the same for the ladies. It's called the White Day which falls exactly a month after Valentine's Day - 14th of March

I was only 10 when I left Korea. Back then, I don't think the distinction between the "Valentine's Day" and "White Day" existed... or I just wasn't aware of them.

My first reaction... I thought it sort of made sense for the Korean culture. If you haven't noticed already, women in Korea tend to take care of their men quite well (almost motherly). So, it really didn't seem too out of the ordinary for the women to express their interest first (earlier date) before the men do.

I would be lying if I said I don't want to receive any chocolates. But... I think I would have mixed feelings about it. I am currently at a point in my life where I am not ready to be the partner that I like to be even if the feeling was mutual. If the feeling isn't mutual, I will probably try to be cordial and give her chocolate on the "White Day" with a friendly note.

Do you think this is a good idea to find out if the person, you have been admiring or have a crush on, likes you? Why not? Wouldn't it be a tragedy if people lived out their lives not knowing the people they secretly admire felt the same way about them.

There's always the chance that the feeling isn't mutual. Rejections can be painful and most of us avoid situations where we can be rejected. But then again, if I were given the choice between living out my life not knowing if I have any chance with someone special and being rejected by the very same person, I would choose to take my chances. What's the worst that can happen? Rejection? Humiliation? I think it's worth the risk.

If rejected, I will eventually stop pining over what could have been and move on. Who knows, once the person is no longer taking a hold of my mind, I might be able to open my eyes to someone truly special who's been there all along.

Black Day - the antithesis of Valentine's Day and White Day

I heard of it from my roommate (flatmate) and I had to look this one up.

According to Yahoo! Korea, Black Day (14th April), which falls exactly one month after White Day (14th March), is a day when those who spent Valentine's Day and White Day alone (without a date) go out to eat JaJangMyung (짜장면) dress all in black. The origin is unknown, but it's suspected that it had been created by those who felt left out of the Valentine's Day and White Day festivities as the antithesis to White Day... to console each other.

JaJangMyun (짜장면) is a Chinese bean paste sauce noodle that had been adapted to suite Korean taste. It has since become a national favorite dish. I have heard rumors that the price of a bowl of 짜장면 has been capped by the government in order to keep the inflation under control.


  1. First!!!

    Another plus point, your blog is the first blogspot blog today that enabled me to view pictures!!!!
    Google glitch *slam.head*

    Valentine's day?? With 2's Macdonalds for dinner *LOL*

  2. Hi ECL!

    Our blog pictures all go missing liao :(

    Happy V day to All!

  3. napaboaniya,
    Congrats for being the first commentator!

    I have no problem viewing photos on Blogspot, I use IE.

    Come on! Get some romantic private time for yourself and hubby. I'm having picnic under the moonlight... on the beach. haha....

  4. sgshortstories,
    Huh!? I can see the photos! I use IE.

    Happy V-Day!

  5. Come Feb 14, men all over Japan & Korea will rejoice, because they'll receive plenty of chocolates. :)

    Interesting bowl of JaJangMyun. One funky looking bowl of noodle. LOL

  6. Lina,
    Chocolate giving to guys should be spreading in Singapore and Malaysia. It's a fun custom.

    I love jajangmyun too.

  7. this is interesting. Thanks for sharing..didn't know there is such BLACK DAY until i read this post...

  8. beautiful life,
    I didn't even know about the White and Black days! :)

    Now for my friends who celebrate or don't celebrate V-Day, there are options. haha....

  9. A nice article on Valentine's Day !

    Thanks for sharing !


  10. Hi eastcoastlife !

    I have an award for you, it is called The Passionate Blogger Award !

    Thank you for your support !


  11. Wow! I wish I'm Korean and get some chocolates and flowers. Haha! Maybe we should start one in Malaysia and Singapore! : )

  12. oh I didn't know abt the black and white days either! this is interesting ;-)

  13. I did not know of White Day and Black Day. So logical they are.

  14. That's so interesting, I'd never heard of that before :)

  15. I've never heard of that custom before, but I really like the idea. Perhaps it will spread, who knows?

  16. Hi Jinghui,
    Thanks for the award and tag.
    Glad you like this V-Day article.
    Wish you receive lots chocolates!

  17. Jean,
    Thank you. I'll give you linky love in my Love post too.

  18. foongpc,
    We don't have to be Koreans to celebrate White and Black Days. We can start one this year.

    Anyone wants to join? :)

  19. Captain Picard,
    Let's see you putting the White and Black Days into your story.

    That would be interesting.

  20. Rachel,
    Now that you do, probably you can start spreading the word. :)

    You have a nice guy in mind?

  21. A.
    Several friends I spoke to, like this idea. I don't know if they will start practising it this year but I know it is spreading. :)

  22. Hi ECL,

    Happy Valentine's Day to you.
    Come & spread the V love with me :)

  23. Never knew Valentine's day is celebrated differently in Korea. Really interesting.

  24. Very interesting I love knowing what other countries do on Valentines Day..

    Dorothy from grammology

  25. The author Sam is so handsome! I bet he receives plenty of chocolates. Hahaha.
    I still prefer the traditional way of the guys buying the girls pressies and flowers on Valentine's Day though.

  26. so that's the korean way? how about the singaporean way?

  27. I would say why not ? I never needed to ask first but I know today's girls they go ahead like men when I was 20 !

  28. Interesting read - you know I love to learn about culture and habits all over the world.

    In Norway VD is kind of a new thing. I think its nice, but also that it has become a bit too commercialised.

  29. Doreen,
    We learn about another country's interesting custom. :)

  30. Dorothy,
    I wonder how different V-Day celebrations are in other countries. hmmm...

  31. waitingkitty,
    Sam would be blushing, I guess. haha...

    I'm sure he receives lots of chocolates. He's a nice gentleman.

  32. the donG,
    The Singaporean way is to have an expensive dinner at a restaurant. haha....

    V-Day is too commercialised in Singapore. :(

  33. Gattina,
    Times have changed. Girls are not shy to ask for dates. I encourage them to go for their man too! :D

  34. Renny,
    I love learning about culture and habits in other countries too.

    I agree that V-Day has become too commercialised. Valentine's set dinners and roses are expensive.

    It's V-Day for me everyday although I do try to make it a special day for hubby. :)

  35. This is something new.

    Have a memorable Valentine's Day.

  36. Ha ha ha... Yes, I am blushing; I am not good at accepting flattery. And, no, I don't believe I will be receiving any this year ^_^

  37. oceanskies,
    Thanks for the Valentine's message.
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  38. g.krytonite,
    You have just opened the floodgates! haha....
    Hope you receive lots of chocolates this V-Day! ;)

  39. Very nice info about the White day and Black Day in Korea that even I didn't know much about. Guess all of us have something to learn from each other ;)

    Hope you enjoyed V-day yesterday :D