Did you know that Korea has a love holiday for EVERY MONTH? Move over Valentine’s Day & Sweetest Day, Korea brings love to a whole new level. You know how milestone anniversaries have gifts like for your first year of marriage you gift paper and if you make it all the way to 50 years you get eachother gold gifts?
Think of Korean love holidays like this, each month there is a different ‘theme’ and Valentine’s Day isn’t what you think it is! Check out all the different love holidays in Korea for couples and even singles!
Dating culture in Korea is a real thing, they have mastered holidays and quirky ways for young couples to enjoy dating. See some of the fun activities to enjoy while dating or spending time with your lover in the ROK.
If you are dating someone in Korea or plan on it, you had better mark and plan your calendar for every 14th of the month! Living here you will see most convenience stores or grocery stores with a special section of candy, flowers, or cutesy gifts for each holiday – which we will dive into later!
Heading to Seoul? Be sure to also check out the most romantic things to do in Seoul or our favorite date ideas around the city!
A Few Fun Couple Things in Korea
Before we dive into the Korean love holidays and romantic holidays in Korea, there are a few fun things to share about dating culture in Korea that were new to us while living in Seoul. Our favorite is the outfits for sure!
It’s pretty customary for Koreans to live with their parents until marriage, which means when dating, they have to plan around for some one-on-one intimate time in Love Motels. Love Motels are often rented by the hour (or the entire night) and are fairly inexpensive.
While hotel rooms rented by the hour are considered ‘sketchy’ or ‘nefarious’ in some places and to some cultures, in Korea they are pretty innocent and have a justifiable explanation as to why there are so many of them.
Some of the motels have themed rooms, round shaped beds, karaoke rooms, and Jacuzzis!
Places rented by the hour get a bad rep from married individuals who are sharing these rooms with their mistresses…and we are sure that happens here too, but in general, Love Motels in Korea are pretty innocent and a way for couples to just enjoy some private time.
We have actually stayed in a few love motels during our travels in Korea. They were cheap, clean, and oftentimes really nice! Sometimes they give you a little ‘bonus’ toiletry pack with condoms and toothbrushes. They really got your back.
It’s common to spot couples walking around wearing matching outfits. Korean couples are proud to be in a relationship. So much so, that they want to express their unity to the world.
You’ll see couples wearing entire matching outfits or more subtly, some sort of matching accessory. Whether it’s as little as matching tennis shoes on or the whole shebang, you can tell which youngsters are couples and proud of it.
Sometimes foreigners find this romantic trend cheesy, but after being here awhile we found it to be super endearing! And without planning, we had matching jackets so we fit right in!
There are even some stores dedicated to only selling matching attire! Most underwear stores here also display matching couples undergarments in their windows.
This trend started with ‘honeymoon attire,’ dressing in matching apparel let people know that you were a newlywed couple. Traditionally this was done in the form of the man wearing a suit and the woman wearing a matching hanbok (traditional Korean clothing).
Over time, this tradition evolved and now you can just match anything from accessories to entire outfits.
100 Day Anniversaries
Another fun love tradition in Korea are the 100 day anniversaries! This is a big deal in dating culture in Korea and is the first ‘ring’ you buy for your lover.
On the 100th day of dating someone, you’re supposed to get something known as couple rings together! These are much less expensive than engagement rings and other fine jewelry and usually are available with various designs or you can customize yours with inscriptions.
See more about what dating in Korea is like in this guest post.
Love locks are a popular way for couples all over the world to ‘unify’ their love by placing a padlock on a famous monument, gate, fence, or bridge to symbolize a love that can’t be broken. This happens all over the world and is also popular in Korea.
Namsan Tower in Seoul is famous for lovers to have a date night and place a love lock among the thousands of others to symbolize their eternal love at the top of the tower. But this is not the only place you can leave your eternal love around Seoul. In Insadong, at Ssamziegil shopping center, you can leave a love tag on the top floor with a little message like we did!
Both of these spots have designated fences and an area for this and the local vendors capitalize on this by selling cute padlocks in the shape of hearts or fun colors!
Love locks are actually quite controversial on popular monuments because they are considered to be a form of vandalism and at places that weren’t originally designated for this romantic trend, it’s caused damage to structures and requires costly maintenance, there’s even an entire movement to have love locks banned in Paris.
Korean Love Holidays
Time to explain the LOVE HOLIDAYS! Korea has a love holiday every 14th day of the month dedicated for couples and or dating, that’s right, EVERY MONTH! The most well known are Valentine’s Day, White Day, and Black Day.
Stores from your local 7-Eleven and CU convenience stores to department stores sell merchandise each month around these holidays, especially around Valentine’s Day and White Day, the others are celebrated but are a little more obscure still.
Living in Korea the time that we did, it was sort of fun to see how companies capitalized on this and unlike the US, the gifts were usually really small and just a few bucks making them accessible for just about everyone to join in on the fun and love. Of course, if you have a thicker wallet, you can always splurge but it was never expected and not the norm.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February and is different than how we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the US. Instead of couples getting eachother little gifts or showing sentiments for their love for one another, this love holiday in Korea is for the lads only.
In February, the ladies buy gifts and show their love for the gentlemen only. But don’t worry, the ladies are next.
In March, the girls get to celebrate White Day where their lovers get them a gift, pamper them, or show their sentiments in a way. But if you want to do this truly like a local, the official gift on White Day is actually chocolate.
Korea also includes singles on Black Day in April for those who do not have a special someone with a little tradition of their own. How considerate!
This Korean love holiday is when couples exchange brand new diaries for each other. This is done in hopes each other will have a lovely year together.
You will need one of these diaries to also keep track of all of the Korean love holidays!
With many stationary stores here you can easily find a fun, cute character filled diary or journal for your boo.
Some couples also give eachother a candle on this holiday, reason unknown.
Feburary 14th– Valentine’s Day
Foreigners are familiar with this holiday! Except for this time, instead of us both celebrating our love together, Valentine’s Day is all for the guys!
This day is dedicated solely for the male counterparts. Girls will often buy or even better make chocolates for their lucky lad on this day.
March 14th– White Day
Don’t worry, the following month is for the ladies! On March 14th, aka White Day, is traditionally when the women are gifted with goodies and sentiments from their lovers.
Common gifts include flowers and little trinkets, but the official gift is supposed to be chocolate. You’ll find special chocolates sold at stores made for gifting on this day!
Also, this is a rare photo of the coffee mugs that inspired the name of our blog.
Ok, the next Korean love holiday is for singles! I personally love that singles are also included because self-love is important. That is my positive spin on this, but the traditional meaning behind Black Day is a little cruel towards singles.
This love holiday is reserved for those who didn’t get gifts on the previous two months or are newly single. You’re supposed to ‘commiserate’ by wearing black colored clothing and eating black food as a way of signaling to other singles that you’re not alone during this holiday.
Our students used to innocently giggle about this holiday, maybe because they weren’t of age to feel the shame that comes along with being made fun of for being single, about how this was the day to eat the popular and delicious black noodle dish known as jajangmyun and wish that you were in love.
I would love to see singles ‘re-brand’ this holiday as a celebratory day for singles because not only is that dish delicious, but being in a relationship doesn’t equate to happiness or worth. Or use this as a way to mingle with other singles if you’re actively looking for love!
May 14th– Yellow Day or Rose Day
Now we are moving on to the lesser-known love holidays in Korea that are celebrated by the hard core romantic holiday fans!
In May, couples wear yellow on this significant day and exchange roses or flowers. You will see special rose bouquets and flower arrangements for this day at many different stores.
Singles aren’t completely left out of this holiday either, just like Black Day, on this day singles eat a yellow curry to signal they are still single, possibly lonely, and hungry.
June 14th– Kiss Day
This is the one day a year couples get to kiss in Korea, just kidding. PDAs and kissing in public is a little more taboo unless it’s kissing day! Couples usually show their affection in public by holding hands, its really not common to see couples openly kissing in public.
Allegedly, this day is also used for an excuse for singles to kiss each other letting someone know they are interested.
But like all other love holidays in Korea, the companies want to make a few extra bucks off these days. Makeup stores will offer a buy one get one free promotion on lipstick and many stores will have specials on breath mints.
There have even been special kissing events at venues if you’re looking for a good time.
July 14th– Silver Day
Time to bust out the wallet for this next love holiday in Korea. You can’t get away with just spending a few bucks on a piece of candy. This day is just for exchanging silver accessories between lovers. Some couples will exchange matching promise rings on this day as well, even if you haven’t reached your 100 day anniversary yet!
Next love holiday, Green Day! This holiday is not about the band at all but you’re supposed to head outdoors and enjoy an outdoor activity together!
On this day couples are supposed to either take a hike or walk around a green forest together and enjoy the great outdoors.
And singles are not left out either, those poor, depressed singles in Korea are supposed to indulge on soju on this day which comes in a green bottle.
I would love to re-invent all the single holidays to be more celebratory than making people feel like crap for not being in a relationship, but these were not invented by me. So if you’re single, toast some soju with friends and celebrate.
September 14th– Photo Day
One thing that is VERY popular in Korea are photo booths. There are fun cutesy ones in every arcade and karaoke room, which are in just about every neighborhood in the city with nightlife to passport and resume photo booths in every subway station. Photos are often required when you apply for jobs!
Anyway, that information was only presented to paint a clearer picture as to why there is a photo day, photo booths are ubiquitous around Korea.
On this day couples go to a photo booth or more serious relationships go to a studio and get professional photos around this love holiday.
Many couples go sing it out their love for each other at a noraebang (private karaoke rooms) and have someone take a photo of them from behind singing love songs to each other.
October 14th– Wine Day
This Korean love holiday is where couples enjoy a bottle of wine and romantic dinner on this day, or where singles drink a bottle of wine to themselves.
November 14th– Movie Day
We celebrated this one alot while living in Seoul because the regular movie theaters are much more affordable than in the US and some of the movie theaters have great seats where couples can share a couch!
In November, the official love holiday in Korea is Movie Day where couples go catch a romantic dinner and a movie together! Movie theatres are packed this day, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
Another option are DVD rooms where you can rent out a private living room space and watch a movie. This is another product of the cultural tradition to live with your family until you’re married. These rooms give couples an opportunity to rent out their own living room by the hour to have some alone time and enjoy some entertainment!
There are also game rooms too known as multibangs where you can rent out a room with video games, DVD, and karaoke often with snacks. We used to LOVE these as we didn’t have a full set up in our apartment since we were only living in Korea temporarily and sometimes we craved playing MarioKart or Mario Party so we’d rent a room for an hour or two and play video games together!
December 14th– Hug Day
This is one of the least imaginative of the love holidays in Korea, but its still nice. On this day, couples run around hugging each other all day and that’s about it.
But don’t feel too left out in December as Christmas in Korea is pretty much a couple celebrated holiday as well.
As you can see, being in a couple is highly encouraged in Korea, and being single, well sucks according to their list of holidays!
Also, you have heard rumors of how Valentine’s Day was created for greeting card companies to capitalize on lovers in America, well companies here take full advantage of the extra revenues they can receive during the 14th of every month!
Some of these holidays can be all fun and games, but consider if you are a westerner dating a Korean that after a year of celebrating all of these holidays you may be expected to get married! We recommend learning about dating traditions and the dating culture in places you’re visiting if you intend on dating and such, it’s good to stay well informed so you do not break any hearts!
Have you celebrated any fun romantic holidays abroad? Share your experience or comment below!