Valentine's Day can be stressful. That's why this year, Erin and I have decided to celebrate it Korean style.
Yes, this involves cake. Duh.
On February 14th in Korea, women all over the country give men gifts. Traditionally, these involve chocolate. This is also the day when the men get to bask in the loving adoration of their beautiful spouses.
Oddly, I'm not actually expected to do anything today, except eat chocolate. Valentine's Day in South Korea ROCKS!
Wait, what's that you say South Korea? White Day? Oh, I see. Turns out South Korea just split the holiday in two. Valentine's Day is when the ladies give gifts to the men, and White Day is when the men reciprocate. Usually with candy. Or lingerie. Or marshmallows, apparently.
So I better come up with something pretty awesome on March 14th, huh? (Something better than marshmallows, Erin interjects from over my shoulder)
Interestingly, South Korea isn't quite done with the "romance holidays." Black Day, "celebrated" on April 14th, is just for the single people. It's a chance to get together with other bachelors and bachlorettes, eat black bean noodles, and mourn that they have no social life.
South Korean marketing agencies have been trying to turn the 14th of every month into a romance themed holiday. With the exception of Valentine's Day, White Day, and Black Day, they have had limited success. And its no wonder, really. Let's take a look at the list:
(In advance, let me say that I'm not making any of what follows up)
January 14th, Diary Day. Couples give each other diaries or day planners with all the romantic holidays highlighted, just so they won't forget. It's the plan ahead for guilt, holiday.
February 14th, March 14th, and April 14th, the aforementioned Valentine's Days, White Days, and Black Days.
May 14th, Rose and Yellow Day. Give your significant other a rose and dress in something yellow. If you're single, get yourself some yellow curry to... I guess... celebrate not having a date?
June 14th, Kiss Day. Yes, a day dedicated to making out.
July 14th, Silver Day. Hit up your friends for money to go on a date with your other half. Yes, there is apparently a day where its appropriate to walk up to your single friends and say "Hey, sad sack, give me money so I can go celebrate how not single I am on your dime!" I wonder why there isn't more violence during this particular holiday?
August 14th, Green Day. Go out in the woods and drink some cheap liquor (it comes in the green bottles over here). Yes, this is as redneck as it sounds.
September 14th, Photo and Music Day. Get a friend to snap a pic of you and your signficant other, then go sing your heart out in a noraebang (karaoke bar).
October 24th, Apple Day. One of the few not actually celebrated on the 14th, Apple Day is all about forgiveness. Apparently, the Korean word for "apple" sounds very close to the Korean word for "apologize," so couples give each other apples and say they're sorry for getting on each others' nerves all year.
November 14th, Movie and Orange Day. Couples watch a movie while drinking some orange juice. Did someone just come up with a romantic excuse to boost your vitamin C in time for cold and flu season?
December 14th, Hug Day. I really don't think I need to explain this one, though at least it isn't limited to just couples. Crazed, happy people can be found dashing about the streets of Seoul on December 14th, giving out free hugs to anybody who happens by.
So obviously most of those have had a hard time getting off the ground as widely celebrated national holidays.
Now if you'll excuse me, that cake isn't going to eat itself.