Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day...no White Day...wait, what day...?

Confused by the title? So am I. Let me explain.

I believe that most people that read this blog (the whole handful of you ;)  know all about Valentine's Day. It is a 'traditional day of love' on which to be-gift your partner, or nowadays basically anyone, with chocolates and gifts and anything else that may symbolise your love for them, or that you simply care, even if just a little. Still with me? Good. It's pretty simple.

Just some of the many items on sale almost everywhere.

Here in Korea things run a little differently. You see, Valentine's Day here is not a day to give gifts to just any loved one. Here it is a day on which to present something special to your someone special, but only if you're a girl. Huh? Yes, on Valentine's, girls give gifts to boys. Again, this is simple enough right? OK.

Now is where things became a little 'what?' for me. Valentine's Day is celebrated on the 14th of February, and here in the love stricken ROK, there is a follow up day to Valentine's. It is called 'White Day'. It is celebrated on the 14th of March and is meant to be the day on which the earlier recipients of bountiful pleasures are meant to return the favour. So now it is time for then men to pucker up, or open up (the wallet) and bestow upon the ladies something special.

The birthplace of White Day is apparently Japan, but don't tell a Korean that, they tell you you're lying ;)

It was started by a Japanese confectionary company as an 'answer day' to Valentine's. The origin of the name supposedly lies in the fact that it was usually white chocolates that were given in return. The idea is also to give handmade chocolates to your loved one, but most gifts on White Day consist of store bought items, produced by dozens of manufacturers.

To me it all sounds like an elaborate scheme set upon us by the big, bad marketing machine in the sky. And to be completely fair, Valentine's Day doesn't need an answer in the West, because it's a two-way street anyway.

Whichever way you look at it, as a pessimistic hater, or an optimistic lover, there is no denying that this is a big day in Korea, with everyone from little school children to high powered businessmen getting in on the action. I know I did my part...Claudia liked her gift :)

Aha...guess what...there's a follow up to White Day, too. But more about that in a future post.

Keep the love going!

Post by Oliver


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