Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two Valentines Days in Korea

So yesterday was Valentine's Day....but things happened a bit differently here in Korea. If you must know, unlike in other countries, in Japan and Korea, Valentines Day is for girls to buy gifts for the guys. The guys turn falls in March, when they have to return the favor.
So there are effectively 2 Valentines Days!!! These marketing guys are really innovative. They have set aside different days for celebration, almost one a month for a variety of excuses.
As this news report points out:

Jan. 14 - Diary Day
On Diary Day, lovers and friends give one another day planners, which is symbolic of a fresh start to the year. Girlfriends also encourage boyfriends to record their special days together.
Feb. 14 - Valentine’s Day
Korea’s version of Valentine’s Day was imported from Japan after a Japanese company cleverly carved out White Day from Valentine’s to create two days in which they profited from greeting card and chocolate sales. On Valentine’s Day, it is the woman’s responsibility to buy chocolate for their significant others.
March 3 - Samgyeopsal Day
March in Korean is written as the number 3, pronounced “sam,” which is the same as the first syllable of samgyeopsal, or pork belly. Started in 2003, this is the day where people go out to eat pork belly.
March 14 - White Day
On this special day, it is men’s turn to return the favor to the women who have given them chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
April 14 - Black Day
Those who failed to be the beneficiary of love on Valentine’s Day or White Day have Black Day to fall back on. On this day, singles gather to eat jajangmyeon, which is a black noodle dish at Chinese restaurants.
Grape Day / Diary Day /Rose Day
May 14 - Rose Day
Another marketing scheme, on Rose Day lovers are supposed to present each other with a bouquet of roses, as May is the month when roses blossom. The day is promoted by florists and amusement parks, who try to lure young customers with the onset of spring.
June 14 - Kiss Day
Not related to any business, Kiss Day is pretty self explanatory.
July 14 - Silver Day
Young couples exchange silver rings - known as “promise rings” - on Silver Day. Interestingly, more couples introduce each other to their parents on this day than any other.
Aug. 8 - Grape Day
Grape Day is relatively unknown compared to other days since Nonghyup began promoting Grape Day in 2008 to raise grape sales. Also, “August” in Korean is the same as the number 8, which resembles a bunch of grapes.
Aug. 14 - Green Day
This day is designated for lovers to enjoy the beauty of nature. For those flying solo, Green Day is a day to ease loneliness by drinking soju, which is sold in a green bottle.
Sept. 9 - Googoo Day
Created by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Googoo Day (Chicken Day) is intended to promote chicken consumption. In Korean, the sound of a chicken is “googoo,” which is the same as the pronunciation of the number 99.
Black Day /Samgyeopsal Day / Kiss Day
Sept. 14 - Photo Day
Lovers, friends and family celebrate this day by taking pictures outdoors.
Oct. 4 - Cheonsa (Angel) Day
In Korean, the number 1,004 is pronounced “cheonsa,” which sounds the same as the Korean word for “angel.” On this day, non-profit organizations encourage people to do volunteer work and make donations.
Nov. 8 - Bra Day
On Bra Day, men are supposed to buy brassieres for their girlfriend or wife. They say the numeral 11 resembles the strings on a bra, and when “8” is flipped on its side, it resembles a bra.
Nov. 11 - Pepero Day
While many of these days are altogether ignored, Pepero Day is one of the most successful (from a marketer’s standpoint). Pepero is a brand of chocolate-covered cookie first made by Lotte.
Legend has it that Pepero Day started in the 1990s among middle school girls in Busan in the hopes they would become as slim as a stick.
Nov. 14 - Movie Day
Movie Day was established by movie companies to encourage people to go to the theater.
Dec. 14. - Hug Day
This is a day when people hug one another to share the spirit of love. Its origin is unknown.