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Wednesday, 14 March 2007

White Day in Korea: Valentine's day, part two

In North America, February 14th marks Valentine's Day--the same is in Korea, but on that day women are the ones that buy chocolate and gifts for the men (read about Valentine's Day in Korea here). What the heck is White Day you ask? It is a very special day that falls exactly one month after Valentine's day, on March 14th. That's when it's payback time, and the men are expected to return the favor. It's also another day that stores just giggle with glee as men go bananas spending copious amounts of Korean won on chocolate.

About 80% of the people who work at my campus are female so that means in typical White Day tradition it is customary for me to purchase candy or chocolate for students and staff (including Devante of course). Here are my observations of the situation in the streets of Mokdong, around our work.

On my way to buy chocolate (and triangle kimbap), check out the exterior of Family Mart all decked out.

...okay, so Family Mart didn't have the gimbap flavors I wanted. Off to GS25 instead--oh, look what we have here, a tent outside with chocolate galore (read more about convenience stores here):

Even cans of Coke are joining in on the White Day fun (curious what McCol is? Check out my review of it here):

You can't just buy chocolate for one person and ignore everyone else. I received chocolate from both students and staff on Valentine's Day so I was obligated to return the favor. As the saying goes, "when in Rome...do as the Romans do". But in this case it's "when in Korea, do as the Koreans do"--so I did. Every female at the school received chocolate from me and so did most of my students (even the boys--I have to be fair):

I have one class that is dominated with emphatic and enthusiastic girls. I knew they were going to get on my case about White Day. When these girls arrived at school they immediately ran up to me and started tugging and poking me about "where is our candy!!". They even followed me to the washroom and waited for me to come out--to bug me about it some more. Talk about being persistent, jeez! I was ready to make some heads roll (muhahaha), but I didn't think that would make management too pleased. This is what was written on my white board when I entered the class (that orange glow is the sun setting behind me):

The boys in my last class told me that they were beat up today. I was shocked to find out it was the girls slapping them and poking them (sort of what I experienced on a lesser scale) because they showed up empty handed! Oh you silly boys, I'll give you a few more years and maybe you'll come to your senses. The lone girl in the class told me she was showered with gifts--including a huge gift basket from another boy in her class. I told her that "he probably likes you" and immediately her face turned beet red and she had a fit. Haha!

Check out this video of the girls taking this White Day business seriously!

Let's recap here: White day is when men (and boys) buy chocolates for women, in theory. It doesn't always work out that way though. Men are from Venus and Women are from Mars. So I was a little perplexed to receive the following gifts from two boys in my class, but nonetheless grateful (read about Lotte's Dream Cacao chocolate here--people eat this stuff like it's laced with crack):

So far I've covered Valentine's Day in Korea, Pepero Day, and now White Day. What's next? I'm glad you asked because Black Day is coming up soon (no, this is not a joke). According to Wikipedia:
The idea is that those who didn't give or receive gifts on Valentine's Day or White Day can get together and eat Jjajangmyeon (짜장면), Korean noodles with black bean sauce (hence the name), to commiserate their singledom.
So there you have it. All the singles who received diddily-squat on Valentine's Day and White Day can eat black bean noodles in misery--together. This is great, because it just makes the quote "misery loves company" come to life so much better. Oh, by the way, one more thing...

Happy White Day!

If you live on the westcoast of BC, please visit White Spot on my behalf to celebrate this Korean tradition. This could be the start of something new...


Anonymous said...

haha White Spot eh?
I wonder if Koreans here think that way - "let's go to White Spot b/c it's White Day in Korea!"
Are you from (somewhere near) Vancouver?

Shailendra Doke said...


I would like to exchange link with you
if you are intrested then link to me and leave a comment on my blog Adsense Optimization Tips, Tricks and Hacks
I will link back to you.


John from Daejeon said...

Hey GDog, too bad your "pi" day (3.14) wasn't as nice as mine. I don't know if all the hagwons in Daejeon, or just my own franchise, had the day off for owner/teacher meetings. For a fee, teachers are exempt from attending. So, I was able to spend a lazy day at home without the craziness of "White" day.

Gdog said...

I'm from Vancouver Island so I am very familiar with Vancouver.

Shailendra: sure, the link exchange sounds good.

Ed Lau said...

Dude, is it just me or is that guy at the end of the video saying "ball and chain"...

Gdog said...

LOL! Welcome to the world of English speaking Korean children. What you heard was "Valentine Day" but with a deep accent. Watch the video again and it will make sense...that's funny.

Shailendra Doke said...

Linking Done!


Sandra said...

I am going to miss chocolate. My dauther, the one I want the podegi for, just got diagnosed with a milk and eggs allergy, possible also soybeans and peanuts! So no chocolate for me for a while, no caramel either!! *whine*

Han said...

Hi, GDog.

I've linked this to my post.
If you're not okay with that, please let me know.

Gdog said...

Sandra: That's unfortunate, but better safe than sorry. Maybe in her future years her allergy might change for the better! ;)

Han: Cool, thanks for the linkback, it's not a problem.

Anonymous said...

HAHA, absolutely adorable =).

Jever from Germany said...

I was just reminded of White Day as one of my private students arrived with a box of chocolates she had received at school.

We belong to an international school in Germany and Korean students here usually do not observe any of these days like Pepero Day, White Day, etc.

Except for this one 10th grade boy who handed out boxes of chocolates to all the other 10th grade girls...
Maybe he is new and desperate!

Anonymous said...

aww that kid who says "Balentine" is so cute.

Anonymous said...

My friend is from Korea. She says on white day she would go around shouting "Satang Jusaeyo!!!!!!!!"(give me candy)whenever she was single.

Anonymous said...

thank you, because of your blog i was able to learn about White Day in Korea : )
I teach ESL online and this will be a good topic of conversation.


furei kinoko said...

unfortuneately... i dont have boyfriend? anyone help me?

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