Valentine’s Day in Korea
Valentine’s Day is a romantic and exciting day for couples all over the world. And while Valentine’s Day is also popular in Korea, you may be surprised about how it’s celebrated!
Valentine’s Day “발렌타인데이” and White Day “화이트데이”
Like most countries, Korea celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14th. The “chocolate giving” tradition also exists in Korea, however, unlike most Western countries on Valentine’s Day it’s women who give chocolate to men as a sign of affection!
But before you start to feel bad for Korean women, there is a second “Valentine’s Day” celebrated on March 14th in Korea called White Day “화이트데이 (hwai-teu-dei)”. On White Day, men give candy and other gifts to women. Of course, as retailers have realized how much money can be made on these holidays, in recent years, they have shifted their marketing strategy to try and get men and women to celebrate both days. And about 3 weeks in advance of both holidays convenience stores in Korea begin putting out large displays of chocolates, stuffed animals, and flowers.
On a side note, if you’re a gamer, you may already be familiar with White Day, because of a well-known game named “White Day” that was released by the Korean developer Sonnori. In this creepy survival-horror game, a boy is trapped by evil spirits in his school, on White Day, after attempting to sneak candy into the desk of a girl he admires.
Handmade Chocolates “수제 초콜렛” and Bangsan Market “방산 시장”
When it comes to food, no matter the item, the handmade variety is often the best. The hard work put into making something from scratch also shows a great deal of care and thought on the part of the person preparing it. This type of devotion is also why a lot of Koreans have a special fondness for handmade chocolates being given as gifts on Valentine’s Day. And because of the fondness Koreans have for handmade chocolates, around Valentine’s Day, Youtube videos showing how to make them are highly watched in Korea and Bangsan Market “방산 시장 (bang-sang si-jang)” becomes a popular destination. In Seoul, Bangsang Market is one of the best places for finding all the baking supplies, molds, and ingredients for making homemade chocolates. What makes Bangsang Market so unique is that in Korea baking breads, cakes, and pastries at home is fairly uncommon so not many stores carry the kind of supplies that can be found at Bangsang Market.
Expressing Affection in Korean
- 좋아해요: I like you!
- 사랑해요: I love you!
- 오랫동안 좋아했어요: I’ve liked you for a long time!
- 제 마음을 받아주세요
This literally means, “Would you take my mind?”, meaning “will you accept my feelings and be together with me”. This is a popular romantic phrase that you will hear frequently in K-pop and K-dramas. One thing to be aware of when saying this phrase is that the word 마음 “ma-eum” which means “mind/heart” is very often shortened to 맘 “mam”.