Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14, White Day

White Day is a holiday started in Japan as a marketing strategy and was quickly borrowed by Korean marketing. Since both countries had and still have some strong ideas on male and female characteristics, both countries have two separated days for the two genders to demonstate or 'confess' their love. Valentine's Day is the day for women to 'confess' their love to their men, and only giving something chocolate is appropriate. On White Day, exactly one month later, men 'confess' their love to their women, but giving chocolate is deemed inappropriate; men must give candy. And for those unfortunate people who do not receive their respective chocolate or candy on Valentine's or White Day, they must gather with friends one month later - April 14 - and eat 자장면, noodles with a thick black salty soypaste sauce - and commiserate on their loneliness together.

This year I am saved from the horrendous 자장면 since I just happened to be in a downtown office when an office worker came in and offered me a roll of lifesavers. I was mildly surprised but as soon as he said "White Day" I happily took the candy roll and stuffed it in my pocket! Saved by a stranger!

These three days are nearly universally celebrated now in Korea, although Black Day is regarded a bit as a joke and yet for those who "suffer" the shame of not having a boy- or girlfriend on that day, it loses a bit of its jesting qualities. According to Marteen Meijer in his book "What's So Good about Korea, Marteen?" other days exist, but I have to say, they don't get the attention by the youth or the marketers as do the first three:

Valentine's Day (Feb 14) - girls give chocolates to boys to show their devotion
White Day (Mar 14) - boys give candy to girls
Black Day (Apr 14) - boys or girls who didn't receive chocolates or candy eat 자장면 to show their disappointment
Rose Day (May 14)
Kiss Day (June 14)
Silver Day (July 14)
- boy-/girlfriends are introduced to parents, and may exchange silver rings
Green Day (Aug 14)
Music Day (Sept 14)
Wine Day (Oct 14)
Movie Day (Nov 14)
Hug Day (Dec 14)
Diary Day (Jan 14)

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