Koreans have a number of holidays to share the love, unlike western society, which only has Valentine’s Day. Koreans also celebrate this romantic day, but it is the women who usually give the gifts. Roles are reversed on March 14th, which is the date of the popular White Day. The great thing about this for us girls is that men are supposed to give gifts three-times the value of what they received on Valentine’s Day. Assah! Korea, being the loving country it is, has also invented a day for those who are ‘solo’. April 14th is the dreaded Black Day, also known as “solo regiment” (솔로부대). Unlike the other holidays, you won’t see heart-shaped balloons, more Pepero than anyone can handle, or even young Korean ladies dancing outside Dunkin Donuts (yes, I have witnessed this). There isn’t really anything to sell on Black Day except jajangmyeon – Chinese-inspired noodles served in a dark sauce, which has become the holiday’s signature dish. (Note: It is also customary to eat or order this dish on the first night in a new home). Black Day doesn’t need to be a lonely day like Valentine’s Day can be. Solo girls go out with their girlfriends for dinner or to watch a film, and most likely remind themselves why they are so fortunate (not bitter), to be free from their previous partners. There are other holidays that Koreans have invented, the list actually goes on and on. One especially exciting sounding day is ‘Green Day’ which is held on August 14th. On Green Day couples are supposedly said to drink bottles of soju and go for a walk in the woods (woah, kinky!). Image: Gift idea perhaps? (Note: James Dean)
So what does this all mean? Well, for those who have someone to spoon Friday night, or even someone to care about, then perhaps go to a nice restaurant, say some sweet words, give some flowers, or even just a hug. The main name for this day is ‘Pepero Day‘, so you can at least give that. You can’t miss the chocolate covered sticks that are now at the entrance of every Family Mart or Se7enEleven. And this year is even bigger for Pepero given as it is 2011, symbolising two extra Pepero sticks (11/11/11). For those of you reading this thinking, “oh, it’s just another commercially exploited holiday” or “I don’t need a day to tell someone how much I love them, or give them a gift” blah blah blah – be quiet. There is nothing wrong with an excuse to celebrate love, and Korea’s quirky and somewhat different ways are just a bit of lovely fun.
What do you think of Pepero Day?