What do Koreans want for Valentine’s Day?

14 Feb

After a few weeks on hiatus, I’ve resumed reading the daily metro newspaper. I’m getting better and was able to comprehend close to fifty percent of my focus article today.

The fact is that nobody knows anything about most of the St. Valentines other than their names, and the celebration has pagan roots. The whole thing seems to have come from Geoffrey Chaucer’s pen and here I am in over six hundred years later, on the other side of the world, and told by the media to bestow flowers, candy, expensive dinners, etc upon m’lady. Perhaps some of you are surprised to discover that this purely commercial day has made its way to the land of morning calm, but if you were ever witness to marketing genius of Pepero Day then you wouldn’t be. Sejong the Great could never have imagined it.

There is a difference though. In Korea, Valentine’s Day is the day when women buy chocolate for men. Women who do this should be viewed as shrewd investors because the men are supposed to pay them back threefold with gifts on another day created by marketing geniuses, called White Day, which was imported from Japan.

The article surveyed 523 twenty-something unmarried men and women from all over the country and asked them what they would like to receive for Valentine’s Day. The results were surprising to the author of the article and led to the headline “밸런타인 초콜릿 대신 키스” roughly translated as “Valentine Chocolate Replaced By Kiss”.

Check out this awesome pie chart:


Statistical breakdown:

키스/Kiss – 37.9%

시계/wristwatch – 35.4%

프러포즈/marriage proposal – 17.5%

향수/perfume – 16.7%

가방/handbag – 15.4%

초콜릿/chocolate – 13.8%


So guys aren’t so excited about chocolate. They want some action instead (and, short of that, wristwatches) and I can’t say I blame them. I would imagine that there were sex-specific responses to this question so they really should have broken it down. I’d be interested to know, for instance, how many men were expecting a marriage proposal today, which makes me wonder how many romantics propose to their ladies on White Day. Maybe that will be in next month’s survey.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 14, 2008 in Korean Language, Seoul Days



One response to “What do Koreans want for Valentine’s Day?

  1. Stella Kevlar

    February 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

    seriously! women propose to men? does that happen normally or just on valentine’s day?


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