Valentine’s Day & White Day in South Korea
Valentine’s Day is an international celebration of love, no matter where it is or what it is called in the world. People either love it or hate it. It’s a day of getting and giving chocolate and cards, someone being sad and bitter because they are single, or people buying the discounted chocolate after it’s over.
On Valentine’s Day in the U.S. people will normally celebrate it by showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. People may go out for a romantic dinner while some may propose or get married. Most people give out greeting cards, chocolate, flowers, or jewelry to their partners or admirers. Valentine’s Day is also a day to appreciate friends, in other cultures. In Finland, Valentine’s Day refers to “Friend’s Day” which is more about remembering and appreciating your friends rather than the main focus being romance.
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Valentine’s Day’s origin is mostly unclear, but there are theories. It is believed that it stems from the story of St. Valentine, a roman bishop who was martyred around February 14th in 269 CE for secretly marrying couples when it was illegal. It is unknown as to how he became the patron saint of lovers, but there is a theory that the church used the day of his martyrdom to Christianize the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.
In Korea, the 14th of each month is a love related day. On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, women give men chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and men give women non-chocolate candy on March 14th (White Day). On April 14th (Black Day), those who didn’t receive chocolate or candy may to go a restaurant to eat black noodles and mark their “single life”. Koreans also celebrate Pepero Day and young couples give each other Pepero cookies.