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Black Day in South Korea – Why April 14th is a day for singles

If you happen to be Single in Seoul* (or elsewhere in the country), you probably know why April 14th is “Black Day” in South Korea. However, if you don’t live there you may not know about this special holiday, so to speak. Before explaining it, let’s go over two other dates that are important in the world of romance.

For couples living in South Korea, February 14th and March 14th are both special celebratory days. In North America, we already know that February 14th is Valentine’s Day.

Girls give guys chocolate gifts
A lot of guys get chocolate from the special woman in their life on February 14th

In Korea it works a little differently. On February 14th, the ladies shower their boyfriend with gifts of chocolate. It’s unusual for the guys to reciprocate though; it’s truly a one-way gift-giving celebration.

Chocolate, flowers, or jewelry for the ladies
Women receive flowers, chocolate, or even jewelry from their boyfriend on March 14th

The tables are reversed in March, though! On March 14th, girls and women receive gifts of flowers, candy, and jewelry. This day is known as White Day, and it’s all about showing your girlfriend how much she means to you.

They’re both very sweet holidays and fun to celebrate. But what if you’re single? Enter April 14th – “Black Day”!

What is Black Day in South Korea?

After suffering through two back-to-back months of witnessing romantic exchanges and declarations of love, this is the day for the single folks. Unattached friends will gather and go out to commiserate – or sometimes to celebrate! – the fact that they have no romantic partner.

There are various traditions for participating in Black Day. Some people will actually dress head to toe in black clothes to really match their style to the occasion.

Black clothes fit the theme of the day
If you’re celebrating Black Day, you may as well dress the part!

However, the best known tradition is to eat black-themed food. The most popular choice is 짜장면 or Jjajangmyeon. This meal is likely to sell out fast on April 14th in Chinese-style Korean restaurants.

Many single people will eat JJajangmyeon on April 14th Black Day in South Korea
I mean, it looks so delicious that I may eat some even though I’m NOT single!

Unlike a superstition, eating Jjajangmyeon on Black Day is more of a light-hearted tradition. It’s a noodle dish topped with diced pork, vegetables, and its signature black bean sauce. Chinese in origin, it’s a popular meal in Korea on any day. This holiday in particular boosts its popularity though. You can always try making it yourself with this recipe from Korean Bapsang if you’d prefer some homestyle cooking.

Takeout and Netflix - just avoid the romance dramas if they're going to bug you on Black Day
Netflix to distract you

While many people do gather in groups to eat in restaurants, some singles may choose to simply order take-out or delivery. Eating at home while watching a drama on Netflix is a valid choice too. Maybe a romantic drama to put those vibes out in the world? Or maybe not, if fictional couples will just bug you too much.

Bitter coffee for your bitter heart is a common beverage choice on Black Day in South Korea
Even if you usually choose a latte or an Iced Americano, black coffee may fit this day a little better

I’ve read that black coffee is popular on Black Day as well. Perhaps singles will stop at a coffee shop on their way home from eating Jjajangmyeon. The question is, add sugar or not? Is the single life bitter, or is it sweet?

What will your menu be on April 14th this year?

Now that you know why April 14th is Black Day in South Korea, are you feeling motivated to participate? If you do, are you going to eat Jjajangmyeon? Will you drink black coffee? Let me know! As for me, I may be happily married, but maybe I’ll have some Jjajangmyeon that day anyway, in a show of support (and also because it’s delicious)!

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*Why does “Single in Seoul” sound like a reality dating show? Maybe I should pitch it to Netflix and make a fortune!


1 thought on “Black Day in South Korea – Why April 14th is a day for singles”

  1. Wow, that’s really cool. I like wearing a black outfit throughout the year, so it’s great to know there can be a good reason for it in spring. I would love to see this holiday catch on!

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