Saturday, March 14, 2009

Korean "Holiday": White Day (화이트 데이)

Happy White Day! It's a day for white people, y'all.

No, just kidding-- it's a quasi-holiday that was popularized in Japan and taken to new heights of marketing frenzy in Korea.

According to the English Wikipedia article, White Day was first observed in Japan in 1978. The idea came from a candy company, of course. Then Wikipedia flips out and says that a company that made marshmallows marketed March 14 as Marshmallow Day in 1977. So which is it, Wiki?? 1978 or 1977? You can't be confusing me over here!

To further confuse myself, I looked up the Korean Wikipedia article (you know, to see if the racist Koreans posted that White Day was swiped from the Japanese). Mistake. Now I have lots of conflicting dates! Korean Wiki (or 위키 for short) tells me that March 14 was first touted as Marshmallow Day in Japan in ... 1965.

(Wiki and 위키, get your facts straight. I rely on you both for sound articles! I'm not even going to bring Wiqi (French Wiki) into this, because she failed me and didn't agree with Wiki or 위키. Argh!)

Whether it was in 1965, 1977, or 1978, White Day's been around for a while. It's not at all celebrated in the U.S. (I don't know about other non-Asian countries) but is a rather big deal in Korea and Japan. We do love any excuse for gift-buying and candy-eating.

The rule of White Day has to do with the rule of Valentine's Day, different from the American rule of chaotic trading of candy and Valentines. In Korea and Japan, girls give boys chocolate for Valentine's Day and boys give girls candy for White Day.

This makes no sense to me, because I feel that as a whole, girls enjoy chocolate more than boys do. Shouldn't it be the other way around?? The part I do like is that there is an unspoken rule about boys spending three times as much on White Day gifts as girls do on Valentine's Day gifts. Too bad I didn't see anyone but my parents and colleagues today!

I've glimpsed (very tacky) candy bouquets, (even tackier) pre-packaged gift baskets, and very gag-inducing couple-y things here in L.A. around Valentine's Day and even on White Day, but just in Koreatown. I cannot even imagine what it must be like in Korea, when candy companies are bombarding the general public with pink, love-themed items.

Regardless of my trepidation, hope you had a lovely White Day!

I went to work today and wrote some exhausting Excel formulas, looked at a bunch of shots, and tried to catch up so that Monday won't be so painfully Monday-ish. Wheeee!

It's also Pi Day today, since Pi = 3.14.

(Sort of. Really, Pi = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510.)

Happy Pi Day! I wish I had had some pie today. Yum, piiiiiiie.

There is a strange sort of comfort in numbers for me. Numbers are finite, solid, and black-and-white. Numbers very rarely fall into a gray area, especially in my line of work. Movies get made with a lot of number shuffling, a lot of money shifting hands, and there is a kind of instant gratification in that- get the money, do the work. Don't get the money, don't do the work. The beauty of numbers.

Now I'm off in hunt of candy and pie. Such an unhealthy day, March 14!

(January 14 was Diary/Candle Day, and February 14 was (of course) Valentine's Day.)


Amanda March 15, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

All of my (female) coworkers in Korea used to say the same thing. "Why don't WE get chocolate and THEY get candy?"

For White Day I made Good Man go get me Girl Scout cookies from our freezer. Yummmmy.

jeanny March 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

Yum, cookies! There should definitely be a cookie-exchanging holiday (Christmas doesn't count).

I cannot believe how tiny those boxes of Girl Scount Cookies are now. They are way too expensive!

Some Caramel DeLites sound good right now... mmm...

william March 16, 2009 at 9:37 PM  

the boyfriend got me a huge lollipop for white day. it has about 50g of carbs. thanks boyfriend. thanks.

for him, i got myself some chocolate. yeah you read that right.

jeanny March 17, 2009 at 12:47 PM  

Hahaha, your boyfriend is definitely trying to lure you away from the low-carb diet!

Your gift to him is your own happiness while you eat chocolate. And then the guilt when you realize you've eaten all that chocolate.

Thanks a lot, now I have to go find some chocolate!

Amanda March 17, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Those boxes were TINY, but after being GSCless for two years in Korea...I didn't care!