How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated in Korea and how my Elementary Kids are Celebrating it

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa

SAM 4910“Love Letter #3: Daegu, Korea

This blog is reposted from my teaching blog, My Crazy Kimchi

Love Letter Update: This is my Korean elementary school update 

They say it seldom snows in Daegu, but it’s been snowing all day.

Only a few cars were out on the road this morning in my neighborhood of Singi-dong, driving real slow. Most teachers reverted to the subway to get to work, parents accompanied their children to school on foot and it’s surmounted in a bit of displacement in the monotonous routine of Korean drivers.  And school started merrily late today.

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Snow Day in Daegu, Korea

After lunch recess, the kids got into the spirit of the first major snowfall by getting into snow play. Did they build snowmen or make angels in the snow?


Instead, we see snow and snowball fights… snowballs flying everywhere!

I’m not a virgin to snowfall. I’ve lived it many times. Living in New York City we’d have the meanest winters with snow followed by ice sludge on the Manhattan streets. You’d have to walk carefully not to slip on iced over walkways.  But I don’t recall ever seeing children have snowball fights and better yet, on Valentine’s day!

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It was my first time seeing a snowball fight live and up close and it felt like the first time I’ve ever seen snow as a child! Pristine, white and full of devilish trickery!  Some of my kids were soaked. Some carried huge mounds of snowballs. Some grabbed ahold of boards as shovels to dump on others. My little ones were all having fun, “being kids”. Just look at their happy faces- you gotta love teaching in Korea!

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Kids don’t always get to be “kids” in Korea

The educational priorities of Korean families make it rough for children to be kids. After school recreation and extra curricular time is substituted with kids attending hagwons for additional learning and it can start in elementary school.  Hagwons operate well into the evening with additional curriculum and homework, such that children might eat dinner between school and hagwon or at school.  By the time they get home at night, they have to complete their homework and start the day all over the following day.

Read Shocking things about Korean schools 

I arrived a year after they elementary system dropped the requirement for students to attend school on Saturdays! It feels brutal and like an educational military system. But that is the culture and I just teach here.

Read 10 more things about Korean schools that will shock you.

How is Valentines Day celebrated in Korea?

There are four Valentine’s Days in Korea:

1. Valentines Day

This will throw any western girl for a loop, but Valentine’s Day in Korea is when girls give boys chocolate and candies. Yep, not the opposite way around.

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2. White Day

But the good news is a month later, March 14th is White Day and is like Valentine’s Day but for the girls. This is where boys get to repay the chocolates given to them and gift the girls they like or propose.

3. Black Day

April 14th is Jjajangmyeon Day or Black Day. This is Valentine’s Day for single people, where you can stuff your face with jjajangmyeon, a favorite Korean black noodle dish. …it’s compensation for being single, I guess.

4.  Ring Day

May 14th is Ring Day, where you can give your sweetheart a ring to show you love them or if you’re a couple, you’d exchange rings to show you’re in love.

What did you think of the four Korean Valentines Days?

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Daegu, Korea, Love Letters, Teaching English