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[Korea Quiz] Special days only for Koreans

By Korea Herald

Published : June 14, 2023 - 10:37

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Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 is celebrated all across the world but in South Korea, it is widely regarded as a day when women give chocolate to men. As such, White Day, a month later on March 14, is when men reciprocate by gifting candy to women.

Neither of these "traditions" started here. It was actually in 1970s Japan when giving chocolate on Valentine's Day became exclusively for women, and an "answer day" of White Day was created by Japanese candy makers in 1978.

Inspired by this, South Koreans created Black Day that falls on April 14, on which singles get together to eat jajangmyeon, a localized Chinese noodle dish with black sauce which is popular in Korea. It initially began as an online joke that people who got nothing on either Valentine's or White Day got to at least enjoy the noodles, but it gained a substantial following over the years.

Perhaps the most popular of the Valentine's Day spin-offs is Pepero Day, a day where people exchange Pepero -- long chocolate-covered pretzel sticks -- with friends and loved ones. According to the snack's maker Lotte, it originated in 1990s Busan, where middle school girls would exchange Pepero because "pepe" in Korean language means skinny.

It falls on Nov. 11 because the neatly lined-up number ones are reminiscent of Pepero.

Samgyeopsal Day is another Korean invention. In 2003, the livestock society of Paju, Gyeonggi Province, started promoting March 3 as Samgyeopsal Day, on which people eat the popular pork belly barbecue dish.

In Korean, "sam" means the number three, which is why it falls on the third day of the third month.

Answer: a)