BTS is going to the Grammy’s on Mar. 14, but it’s also one of the most important days for couples in Korea
Your partner calls you by your full name. He says nothing’s wrong but you should know by now something’s definitely up. (Usually, partners in Korea will only call your given name or your nickname.) You try to read his micro facial expressions while your hands scramble to google ‘Korean romantic holidays’. What do you know! Today is a day that you should give chocolate cookies to your lover. “Is this it? Because I didn’t get you a cookie?” He gives you a cold stare and says, “Don’t be obtuse! I found out you were cheating on me.”
Korea is known for many anniversaries that celebrate love but chances are your Korean lover doesn’t care all that much about celebrating each and every one of them. We’ll look into it anyway because when it comes to anniversaries, it’s always better to know than to not know. Who knows your least noticeable day can be your partner’s favorite one? These are the top three Korean romantic holidays that you should take note of, which you might not have heard of just yet.
1. 100th Day Anniversary (백일, baek-il)
While westerners celebrate yearly anniversaries, Koreans are more into counting from the day they officially started dating. (I emphasize ‘officially’ here because, for most Koreans, the time before actually confirming that two people are in a relationship doesn’t count.) Celebrating Day 100 is something that should not be overlooked since in most cases it would be the first important milestone in a relationship. So when Koreans say “We are 100 days in,” it usually means their relationship entered a more serious stage. Some couples go as far as to celebrate 200th, 300th, 400th… you get the gist. (Out of those 100th is definitely considered the most important since it’s the first milestone to come.)
2. White Day (화이트데이)
For people living in countries other than Korea, Valentine’s Day is for both women and men. Koreans take it to the next level by creating another confectionary-giving holiday, a White Day, specifically designating which gender will get the present: men get chocolate on February 14th, women get candies on March 14th. White Day is actually the invention of a small confectionery shop in Japan. An executive of the company drew inspiration from a woman’s magazine, where a woman argued that men should return the favor with marshmallows or candies since they enjoyed their share of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Inspired by the story, he came up with ‘White Day’ (white like marshmallows). I remember being devastated learning about the tradition as I was dating chocolate exclusively. While younger students like to stick to this reciprocal tradition, adults get more creative and gift jewelry, electric devices, or nothing.
3. Pepero Day (빼빼로데이)
Pepero are chocolate-covered thin biscuit sticks that come in many different flavors. Strawberry, Oreo, white chocolate…you name it. As is the case with many romantic holidays, the origin of Pepero day remains unclear. According to Lotte Corporation that invented the delicious snack, it started when girls started to give Pepero to each other hoping they could become tall and thin like the snack itself, which is frankly hard to believe. The date itself – Nov. 11 (11.11) resembles Pepero sticks though. Pepero day is considered a much less romantic day than White Day, let alone 100th day. In other words, it is dangerous to believe someone has feelings for you just because they gave you Pepero. There’s a high chance that everyone in the room already got them too. It’s a different story if they were hand-made Pepero. Don’t be fooled by their simple exterior. As a one-time Pepero maker, I say with pride that it takes dedication, hard work, and affection to create the delicate confectionery.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to go out of your way to celebrate these days. At the end of the day, these romantic holidays are not about expensive gifts, they are about expressing how you feel – letting people know how much you appreciate them. The fact that you tried to understand Korean culture will be present enough… but also don’t forget the 100th Day Anniversary.
Of course, this White Day is extra special because of BTS going to the Grammy’s! NAKD SEOUL will have coverage on the event as well, coming soon.