Valentine's Day in Korea

Valentine’s Day in Korea – How to Celebrate this Love Holiday

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With a vibrant couple culture, it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day in Korea is an important romantic holiday. However, there are certain aspects of Valentine’s Day that are celebrated in a different way in South Korea. So how do couples in South Korea actually celebrate this holiday? Here’s everything you need to know about celebrating Valentine’s Day in Korea.

Do people celebrate Valentine’s Day in Korea?

Yes, people celebrate Valentine’s Day (밸런타인데이 in Korean) in Korea on February 14. However, the custom of gift-giving on this holiday is a little different in Korea. Here, it’s actually the women who traditionally give chocolates to men in on Valentine’s Day. Then on March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day, it’s the men’s turn to give gifts to women.

What’s Valentine’s Day like in Korea?

Similar to in Western countries, stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores will set up large Valentine’s Day themed displays shortly before the holiday. You can purchase chocolate, other sorts of candy and take advantage of Valentine’s Day sale events. Coffee shop and dessert chains like Starbucks or Sulbing also typically put Valentine’s Day inspired desserts and beverages on their menu.

How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Korea?

February 14 is a happy and romantic day for couples. They go on romantic dinners and do other romantic activities on this day. While it’s not a red day (or a public holiday like Seollal or Chuseok), you should still pay attention to Valentine’s Day in Korea if you are in a relationship with a local Korean.

There is a special holiday dedicated to singles called Black Day. This day is discussed further down in the article.

What makes Valentine’s Day in Korea different?

While it’s a holiday that came over from the West, it’s customary for women to give gifts to men on Valentine’s Day in Korea – mainly chocolate.

Besides going on dates with their partner, many women in Korea also take the initiative on Valentine’s Day and confess their feelings to their crushes. 

What are some fun things to do on Valentine’s Day in Korea?

There are a lot of romantic places you can visit or romantic things you can do on Valentine’s Day in South Korea. Here are some ideas.

Strawberry Dessert Buffets

Strawberry season in Korea is in winter, so from December to May, you will find a lot of strawberry themed afternoon tea sets and dessert buffets around Seoul. Most of these are at major hotels in Seoul, such as the Salon de Ddalki dessert buffet at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun, or the Very Berry dessert buffet at the Conrad Seoul.

Romantic Getaway

Many hotels around Seoul and Korea, in general, offer romantic getaway packages for Valentine’s Day. My husband and I went on a staycation at Conrad Seoul right before Valentine’s Day and we had an excellent time. Check out my article about the most romantic hotels in Korea to choose the perfect Valentine’s getaway.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hanok Village Date

I always think a visit to a traditional Hanok village with my husband makes for a super romantic date. There are a lot of Hanok villages all over Korea, so no matter where you live, there’s likely to be one. My favorites include the all-time favorite Bukchon Hanok Village and Eunpyeong Hanok Village in and near Seoul, as well as the Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeollado.

Relaxing Spa Day

With so many great spa options in Korea, this is a no-brainer on this list. I’ve been to various spas in Seoul and around Korea with my husband, alone and also with friends. What’s more romantic than getting pampered together with a couple’s massage or staying at a beautiful spa resort? Some great options include Spa 1899 Donginbi in Seoul, Whoo Spa in Seoul, Forest Resom in Jecheon, or SpaLand Busan.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda | German Traveler (@lindagoeseast)

What do people gift on Valentine’s Day in Korea?

The typical Valentine’s Day gift in Korea is chocolate. Some women even make their own chocolates with available chocolate making kits for a personal touch. Others order custom chocolates with their partner’s initials or name on top. 

On the other hand, a lot of women feel pressure on Valentine’s Day to give thoughtful gifts. They also have to wait a whole month to receive a gift back from their love on March 14. This holiday is called White Day.

Even though Valentine’s Day is a couples holiday, it is becoming more and more common in South Korea to also offer chocolates to close friends, family members, and even coworkers.

Similar Holidays

There is actually a romantic holiday every 14th of the month in Korea, thought the whole year. These are not official holidays and only observed by a few people, but to some, they are very important. Valentine’s Day and White Day (March 14) are certainly the most important.

 

January 14: Diary Day / Candle Day

February 14: Valentine’s Day

March 14: White Day

April 14: Black Day

May 14: Yellow Day / Rose Day

June 14: Kiss Day

July 14: Silver Day

August 14: Green Day

September 14: Photo Day / Music Day

October 14: Wine Day

November 14: Movie Day

December 14: Hug Day

What is White Day in Korea?

White Day is referred to March 14, when it’s the men’s turn to give gifts to women in response to Valentine’s Day a month before.

What is the difference between Valentine’s Day and White Day?

The main difference between Valentine’s Day and White Day is who the gift giver is. On Valentine’s Day, women give gifts to their Valentine, while on White Day, it’s the other way around. Then, it’s the men’s turn to reciprocate the gesture and give a gift to their Valentine.

On both days, men and women also have the opportunity to confess their love to their crush. They often feel a boost of confidence on these days to make the first move.

What is Black Day in Korea?

Black Day is a response to both Valentine’s Day and White Day as it is dedicated to all singles. On April 14, single men and women typically meet up with friends to eat jjajangmyeon, a noodle dish with a black sauce. 

 

What do you think of Valentine’s Day in South Korea?

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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