Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy White Day (화이트 데이)!

Today is White Day in Korea. Here, Valentine's Day is a bit different from in Western society. In Korea, instead of men buying chocolate for women, it is the women who buy chocolate for the men. Women receive chocolate on White Day. At my school, the manager decided to give the students candy from Canada for Valentine's Day. I was talking to a Korean teacher about the parties at school when I was younger. I told her that we would give cards to other students and that although it was optional to give Valentine's cards, we had to give one to everybody in the class so that nobody's feelings were hurt over not getting any. She asked me if we even gave cards to the girls. Today, this same teacher asked me if we have White Day in America and I told her that we didn't because if we did then maybe some people would think that it is white-people day.

In Korea, there is another holiday that is for people who do not have a special man or woman in their lives. It is Black Day and it is on April 14. On that day, people eat 짜장면 (jja-jang-myeon). It is a Chinese noodle with a black bean sauce. In the image above the person is crying while eating the noodles. I had never eaten these noodles before I came to Korea, but they are not too bad. They are not spicy at all.

I think that to Koreans, the idea of wanting to stay single is a foreign concept. I know many people who are not married and very much want to be; however, I don't know anybody who is single and happy to be that way. I think that Korean parents put more pressure on their children to get married. I've heard from some friends that their parents really wanted them to get married and their mom and dad were worried that had not yet found somebody to marry. I've also heard from friends that they know people whose parents pressure them to get married.


Ben, Kelli, Nicholas and Eli said...

I think your White Day is way more realistic than our Valentine's Day. Women build it up hoping their "others" will remember/want to buy them something. Then the day rolls around and they are dissapointed that they forgot or didn't want to buy something. It is much more realistic to think of the woman buying the man gifts.

Shane Hall said...

My understanding is White Day is also celebrated in Japan, but traditionally the women receive marshmallows. Although most these days prefer chocolate.

I was planning to skip Valentine's Day this year and just get Dayna some marshmallows for White Day, but she didn't seem to be a fan of that idea, so I got them for her on Valentine's Day instead. I was pretty close to celebrating Black Day out of that one...