On Valentines Day in Korea the boys are the ones that receive gifts of chocolate and treats from the girls who love them. So what about the ladies, do they have a holiday to get showered with gifts in return? The answer is YES!
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In Korea we have a 2nd holiday of love called White Day (화이트데이 ) celebrated on March 14 that is all about giving gifts to the girls in return for the gifts they gave on Feb 14th.
So where did this holiday come from?? Well, White Day is a kind of “hallmark card holiday” that started in neighboring Japan around 1977. The concept for this holiday (Originally called “Marshmallow day”) was cleverly created by a confectionery company who tried to market white marshmallows as gifts.
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Naturally the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association thought it was a splendid idea (for revenue lol) and made the announcement in 1978 that March 14th would be known as “White Day” which would serve as a type of answer or reciprocation day for the gifts received by men on Feb 14th since women typically gave the gifts to the men they loved.
The Japanese responded well to this new holiday~ soon white chocolates and other white themed treats started appearing on the store shelves aside from just marshmallows! By the 1980’s it was expanding in popularity every year, and once it peaked it made its way across the sea to Korea! Here in Korea it was a bit lower profile for a few years, but over the last 15 years or so it has become part of the mainstream culture with the younger generations. Now White Day is a permanent part of the Holiday culture here and is just as significant as Valentines~ so make sure you do not forget this if you have a Korean sweetheart!
Pretty pastel White Day goodies on sale at Paris Baguette in Seoul~
With two love-related holidays just a month apart the stores fill up with cuteness and stay stocked for quite some time as soon as February rolls around. A few weeks before White Day you will start to see the remaining Valentines Day gift sets slowly switch from boxes of chocolates in traditional colors of red, to pretty packages of primarily candies in a variety of colors and pastels!
Lots of “Happy Valentines Day + White Day” signs and displays are just kept up through both holidays since they are so close. Why bother putting up two months of decorations, right?
♥ Valentines Day = Feb14th Girls give generally chocolates to boys ♥
♥ White Day= March 14th Boys give generally candy to girls ♥
Just getting a rose is nice, but how about a rose slipped in a sleeve crammed with candies? Yes please!
Pretty chocolate sets are also sold, but since the White Day in Korea is associated with candies you will see that 80% of what is for sale are boxes filled with things like lollipops and fruit drops! At first I was like”eh candy? That is so common and not very exciting…” but you can get some amazingly cute arrangements made from candy here!! I feel bad even eating them, I just want to hoard them all in my room and make it a candy flower paradise!
Aside from hitting the fancy sweet shops, most of the bakery chains here ( Paris Baguette, Tous les jours, etc) release special White Day gifts. The last few years they have started to get extremely cute~ kind of hard not to just buy some for fun.
Every single convenience shop pretty much sets up displays with various special candy packs & gift baskets before White Day in Korea~ even the tiny little shop below my apartment had a whole wall of gifts. In many areas of the city small vendors will pop up a few days prior selling beautiful arrangements on the street or just outside shops in the pop tents ~ those same ones that also occur on other gift holidays like Valentines and Pepero Day here!
These are usually open really late a few days prior and on the holiday~ juuust in case! lol
lots of special holiday box sets by brands come rolling out! Here is a gift edition of My-chew in assorted flavors.
One thing that is kinda fun is since it had become a candy holiday most of the candy brands here will sell special White Day boxes of the treat. Even if you are single you can stock up on a gift box of your favorite sweets~Nothing wrong with that!
Did you get a gift? Make sure you return the gesture, this is very important in Korea!
The general rule seems to be that if a girl gives you a gift on Valentines day, it is expected that you reciprocate on White day with a gift back to her. While this is a Korean Couples Holiday, like Pepero and Valentines day boys or girl can also give small candy gifts to friends and coworkers as a kind gesture as well. Most offices and classrooms seem to have little mini exchanges~ so keep that in mind if you work or attend classes with others here! Lots of people will even just buy a huge jug of lollipops and hand those out, for friends it is just a fun gesture and a great excuse to get some extra sweets.
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Koreans in a relationship will go out on a date for a nice dinner, romantic rental room, or maybe to a performance or theme park~ typical date things you would expect for such a holiday. If you go out on March 14th you will find that most of the restaurants and popular places to hang around are filled with just young couples making puppy eyes at each other, so make sure you make reservations a little early if you are looking to eat at someplace fancy.
What do I buy for White Day in Korea??
Now-a-days the treats for White Day in Korea do not HAVE to be white~ as long as it is pretty and taste sweet it will make a great gift no matter what the color. Of course if you can craft or buy something with the white theme that is quite clever and should be worth bonus points for sure^^
One very popular gift you will find in Korea on White Day is a Lollipop Bouquet! Koreans LOVE Chupa-Chups so around this holiday you will be able to buy huge containers of them for mass gifting if needed, but for a more romantic gift these are so adorable and come in a million styles and colors in a range of sizes.
I LOVE lollipop bouquets in Korea, look how pretty these are??? Most cost under 15,000 won!
Flower arrangements are also a nice gift for girls (of course) and many around this time will come coupled with some candy treats as well, double points!
If you are able to shop Korean online stores like Gmarket you will be able to find tons of amazing treat box arrangements as well! These are basically large crammed gift boxes with all sorts of snacks plus usually a cute plush toy or something~ they are really popular on Valentines day to order as well, but you can just as easily make one yourself!! The trick is to arrange everything in a way that it fits and looks pleasing to the eye, like a snack puzzle!
Jewelery is also a common gift for girls on White Day in Korea who are in a steady relationship. One of the best Korean jewelry brands in my opinion to gift on this holiday is Cottiny 코티니 which specializes in sweet-themed jewelry that is a nice balance of cute and feminine PLUS it works so well with the candy/sweets theme on this day.
I will feature Cottiny 코티니 in a future post 😉
It’s so hard to not buy any candy… they are all packaged so pretty!
What did Elle get for White Day from Nara?
Last year (when I first wrote this post) Nara brought me home a lollipop bouquet! As you can tell by how many photos of these I shared in the post, I adore these things~ they are so pretty to display… I almost feel bad picking them apart to eat.
Flowers that never die surrounded by sweets, so much better than a bunch of roses Nara said! lol I agree!
What did you get or give for white day? Please share! ♥