White Day – All About this Romantic Holiday in Japan & Korea

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about White Day.

We’re going to cover the origins of this holiday and how it is celebrated in Korea, Japan, and worldwide!

White Day

White Day is a popular holiday with some similarities to Valentine’s Day.

However, there are a few important between Valentine’s Day and White Day. We’ll tell you what you need to know!

Here’s a resource that you can take with you on the go:

What is White Day?

It is a romantic holiday celebrated one month after Valentine’s Day. The day is seen as an “answer day” in response to gifts they received from women on Valentine’s Day, thus it is also referred to as reverse Valentine’s Day.

When is White Day in Korea celebrated?

It is celebrated every year on March 14th.

White Day in Korea

You may have heard of this holiday from your Korean friends, your favorite K-pop idol, or from one of the Korean dramas or films you’ve watched. On March 14, South Korean men would give women gifts to show appreciation or affection.

How is White Day in Korea celebrated?

It is celebrated in South Korea by boys giving gifts to girls. Typically, these gifts include candy, chocolate, snacks just like Pepero, or other types of gifts that girls like.

In South Korea, only women give gifts to their crush, significant other, or valentine on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. So in response to this, every year, on March 14, the boys would reciprocate the gesture by giving presents to girls.

This photo has white rose flower heart shape gift box and gold confetti glitters

March 14 is seen as the day men get to repay the women for the gifts they have received. For example, if a woman gave a man chocolates on Valentine’s Day, it would be nice for the man to return the gesture on this day, something similar to an obligation chocolate.

Traditionally, gifts may include white chocolates, white flowers, or any nice thing that is colored white. However, these days, gifts are no longer limited to white-colored gifts.

This day is also seen as a time when men can show that they reciprocate the women’s affections.

Why is it called White Day?

The holiday originated in Japan. In the 1970s, Valentine’s Day in Japan started to become more popular as a holiday for Japanese women who wanted to show their affection for men.  Consequently, chocolate factories started selling white marshmallows to men a month after Valentine’s Day. It was said to be the National Confectionery Industry Association that started the tradition of men paying back the women for the gifts they received on Valentine’s Day in the form of marshmallows.

Because marshmallows are typically white in color, they started calling it Marshmallow Day. Later on, they changed the name to White Day to make it more open-ended. In this way, men wouldn’t be limited to giving marshmallows but anything white, such as white chocolate. These days, men are no longer limited to giving white gifts. They can give heart-shaped chocolates, teddy bears, and flowers in a variety of colors.

This tradition has spread to other countries like South Korea, China, and Taiwan.

What kind of presents can be given on White Day?

Boys can give girls white-colored candy (사탕 | satang), white chocolates, or a flower bouquet with white flowers. Traditionally, men were limited to giving gifts that were color white. These days, some men might give gifts of any color.

Other men might even buy more extravagant gifts like jewelry, lingerie, or even expensive gadgets.

Before the second week of March, all of the convenience stores, department stores, and supermarkets sell ready-made treat baskets and large stuffed teddy bears, candies, and flowers that men may also want to buy for their girlfriends on this day. Every year on March 14, stores would be filled with men thinking about giving their significant other for White Day.

What are the important Korean words and phrases for White Day?

Below, we’ll teach you several Korean vocabulary words and phrases related to White Day.

Korean Words

Here are some Korean words related to White Day.

girlfriend – 여자친구 (yeojachingu)

boyfriend – 남자친구 (namjachingu)

candy – 사탕 (satang)

chocolate – 초코릿 (chokolit)

bouquet – 꽃다발 (kkotdabal)

present – 선물 (seonmul)

date – 데이트 (deiteu)

love – 사랑 (sarang)

If you’d like to expand your vocabulary further, we have a list the common Korean words here.

Korean White Day Phrases

Here are some Korean phrases that you can use related to White Day.

I love you – 사랑해요 (Saranghaeyo)

March 14th – 3월 14일 (samwol sipsail)

confess one’s love – 사랑을 고백하다 (sarangeul gobaekada)

give a gift – 선물을 주다 (seonmureul juda)

loved one – 사랑하는 사람 (saranghaneun saram)

You can also learn more phrases related to love through our article on Korean love phrases.

If you’d like to learn more Korean, we have a structured online course that will teach you how to have a 3-minute conversation in the first 90 days! Go here and start learning today!

Valentine’s Day vs. White Day

Since men and women take turns giving each other gifts and treats, there are two Valentine’s Day holidays to celebrate in South Korea early in the year.

And just like Valentine’s Day can be seen as the day when women confess their crush or even love to men, White Day can be seen as a day when men are encouraged to confess their love to the women in their lives (especially those who showed their love a month earlier).

Other common questions about White Day in Korea

Here are some of the questions that people ask about celebrating White Day in Korea.

What effects does White Day have on the Korean economy and local businesses?

White Day is a big deal for the retail industry since it drives sales for companies specializing in jewels, chocolates, and personalized presents.

In what ways is White Day portrayed in Korean pop culture and media?

White Day is frequently romanticized in K-dramas and music videos by portraying lavish gift-giving and romantic gestures. This usually shapes the expectations and festivities that you see in public.

How has the custom of giving gifts on White Day changed over time?

Over time, White Day gifts evolved from traditional chocolates to those that include various personalized and meaningful items. This shows a change in the culture surrounding this holiday.

White Day in Japan

As mentioned above, the holiday originated in Japan, so it’s no surprise that many people in the country celebrate this holiday. It is also no surprise that in Japanese culture, the color white may symbolize purity and innocent love.

Japanese men see this day as an opportunity to show their affection to their significant other. In Japan, if you’re a man and receive gifts from a woman on Valentine’s Day, it is customary to give a gift on White Day that is worth 2 or 3 times the value of the gift you received.

White Day in China

Other Asian countries like China are also celebrating this holiday as well. Some stores would grab this opportunity to sell candies and other gift items to men to give to women.

White Day in Taiwan

Some Taiwanese men have also adopted the custom of celebrating this holiday as well.

The holiday is a good way to show your significant other your love for them. Apart from that, it’s also good for the business as sales of chocolates, flowers and other goodies go up. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate this holiday, right?

It seems that with the rise of social media, this holiday is slowly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, and other countries are joining in on the fun.

Does your country celebrate White Day? Let us know in the comments below.

Why is White Day important?

Although a commercialized holiday from the start, March 14 is an important holiday to celebrate.

However, due to its nature, it can lead to some stress. Some couples and other romantic partners may feel it’s an obligation. It can be seen more as an expectation or a social obligation rather than simple enjoyment. Typically, both parties love receiving and giving gifts.

Nevertheless, it’s good not to take it too seriously. Instead, think of it as a fun little holiday for couples to show extra love and for men to show some gratitude for the gifts received during Valentine’s Day. It’s also a perfect excuse to go on a special date!

Wrap Up

What do you think of White Day? Did you know that a romantic holiday (like Valentine’s Day) like this is celebrated? Let us know in the comments below!

Was this post helpful?

5 thoughts on “White Day – All About this Romantic Holiday in Japan & Korea”

  1. this site has articles so detailed yet so simple, definitely the best site to learn more about the culture, thank you for attempting to spread your culture all over the world <3

  2. I think it’s a second valentine’s day for men who give present to women to show their affection ????

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *