I’m going to make a bold statement here and say that South Korea is the most romantic country in the world!
Yes, more romantic than the sparkling Eiffel Tower at nightfall, more romantic than a gondola ride down the canals in Venice, and more romantic than dancing tango in the streets of Buenos Aires. (Okay, so maybe tango in Argentina is at a tie with South Korea…)
I know, you’re probably thinking, “Umm, what exactly does Korea have going on in the romance department?”
Well, thirteen romance filled holidays, to be precise.
Diary Day – January 14
The first month of romance kicks off with ‘Diary Day’. As the name suggests, this is a holiday where couples buy each other cute daily planners for the year – an especially useful gift for the forgetful ones in the relationship, though it shouldn’t be that difficult to keep track of these romantic holidays since they all fall on the 14th of every month!
Valentine’s Day – February 14
In any other country in the world, Valentine’s Day is a time when couples celebrate their love for each other, but in Korea things are done differently. Here, Valentine’s Day is all about the men. Yes, you heard that right ladies, this is when you make your move! If there’s a certain man you’ve been batting your lashes at, it’s time to buy him a box of chocolates and finally confess your love. And if you’re already in a relationship, this is the day to shower that special someone with sweet notes, kisses, and lots of chocolates!
White Day – March 14
Of course, after all the work the ladies put into planning the perfect Valentine’s Day, a whole month later it’s time for the men to finally return the favour. “White Day” is when the boys lavish the girls with flowers, jewelry, candy and other sweet gifts. If you want to take it a step further, you can even plan a romantic date and take your girlfriend out for a special dinner. Or better yet, hike up Namsan (남산) to leave love locks, and then go up N Seoul Tower for a dazzling view of the city below.
Black Day – April 14
For those who are still unlucky in love even after 3 months of romance filled holidays, there is Black Day. With dark clouds brooding over their heads, this is the day when single friends get together, trash talk exes, say yes to the single life, and then share a bowl of black noodles known as jjajangmyeon (짜장면). Sounds so uplifting, right?
Rose Day / Yellow Day – May 14
Rose Day is when couples wear yellow and exchange roses to remind each other of their love (because clearly the previous months haven’t made it clear enough). While the couples are being all lovey-dovey, this month the singletons get together to eat yellow curry - yum!
Kiss Day – June 14
The perfect excuse to make out all day long. Need I say more?
Silver Day – July 14
If things are starting to get serious in the relationship, this is when that special someone finally gets introduced to the parents. This is also a day when couples exchange silver rings which act as promise rings. I hear wedding bells!
Green Day – August 14
This holiday is the perfect excuse to get out of the city and go for a long romantic walk in a scenic setting.
A few ideas of romantic destinations in Korea include the Damyang Bamboo Forest (담양 죽녹원) which is lush and green in the summertime – many couples choose to carve their names into the bamboo as a way of professing their everlasting love for each other. You can also consider visiting the Boseong Tea Fields (보성녹차밭) where you can enjoy a hike, take cute photos amidst the rows of tea leaf bushes, and then share a cone of green tea flavoured ice cream. Another idea is to travel out to Nami Island (남이섬), a place made popular by the Korean drama “Winter Sonata” (겨울연가) – very romantic.
And again for those who are still single by August (unbelievable!), it’s time to get drunk. The green bottles of soju (소주) really tie in well with this whole theme.
Photo Day / Music Day – September 14
Photo day is the time to pull out your phone and take lots of cute selfies with your boo (doesn’t that happen every single day of the week anyway?). And after a day of photo snapping, you get to meet up with friends for a soju-fuelled evening of noraebang (노래방), where you sing off-key to your favourite songs until the wee hours of the morning, upon which you stumble home drunk.
Wine Day – October 14
By October it’s time to start getting creative with the holidays and throwing some more alcohol into it (though clearly that’s been happening all year long). While beer, soju and makkoli are the most common beverages of choice in Korea, October 14 affords people the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and share a bottle of Merlot or Sauvignon with that special someone.
Movie Day – November 14
You have two options on Movie Day: you can either go to the movie theatre to catch the latest flick (you’ll want to book in advance because this is a day when theatres are packed!), or you could go to a DVD-bang (DVD room) with a small group of friends and spend the afternoon watching a few of your favourite films.
Pepero Day – November 11
This is the odd one out since it’s the only romantic holiday that doesn’t fall on the 14th – I guess all the months were taken! Pepero Day is a fairly new holiday that apparently originated when two friends swapped Pepero (빼빼로) sticks (long pretzel sticks covered in chocolate) with the hopes of becoming tall and thin…since the date 11/11 resembles the shape of the sticks, the holiday took off and became a hit.
Oh, and if you want to test this out for yourself, the magic happens when you eat the Pepero sticks on 11/11 when the clock strikes 11:11. Let me know how that goes for you!
Hug Day – December 14
And the last holiday of the year is a chance to embrace your loved one in a great big bear hug! Not a bad way to stay warm and toasty when the temperatures are beginning to drop.
And that concludes the love fest of romantic Korean holidays.
Now what do you think about South Korea being the most romantic country in the world?