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04/10/2017 Special > Special

Title

Korean Couple Culture

How Korean couples date

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The question of whether one is dating or not a big issue in Korea, and Korean couples tend to spend a quite a lot of time together. Korean couples exhibit unified ways of expressing love, which can even be as naturally called as a ‘couple culture’. Although formulaic in some ways, the following features of how Koreans date may enlighten couples on maintaining better relationships.  
 

Growing intimate through anniversaries and message-sending

 
Most couples celebrate anniversaries year after year, but Korean couples go even further. It is the norm in Korea to celebrate 100th day anniversaries, counting from the day they officially began their relationship. Korean couples usually celebrate 100th, 200th to 300th, then 500th, and 1000th day. Those days are celebrated by eating out at pleasant restaurants, having cake, exchanging love letters, flowers and presents. Teen couples even go as far as to celebrate their 22nd day calling it ‘two-two’, meaning they became ‘two’ instead of ‘one’. This is because they break up much earlier than adult couples, but still want to celebrate a special event with their loved ones. Some people celebrate 50th-day anniversary as well.
 
Couples exchange presents together on their 100th day anniversaries.
(Photo courtesy of S.I.VILLAGE)

Other events that Korean couples enjoy which are not related to their dating days are the 14th day of each month. The 14th day events originate from Valentine’s Day. The most famous 14th day event besides Valentine’s is White Day, which is on March 14th. In Korea, women give chocolates to men on Valentine’s and men returns candies to women on White Day. Other days’ include Rose Day on May 14th, and Wine Day on October 14th, which is simply exchanging roses and drinking wine together, respectively. On Black Day, which is on April 14th, some singles eat jajangmyeon, or noodles with black soybean sauce together and promise themselves next year, they would be able to find partners and celebrate White Day.
 
Koreans also like to use text messengers frequently, such as KakaoTalk or Between, in order to feel they are together when they are alone. Many couples constantly report their daily lives if they are not busy. Although this may be bothersome, couples can understand each other more deeply by having these kinds of conversations. The frequency of sending messages can be interpreted as love and attention for their partners. Therefore, couples get upset and fight when their partners seem careless about message-sending. There are, however, some Korean couples who do not want to be bothered by messages- but they also at least send good morning and good night texts to one another.
 
Between is similar to KakaoTalk but different in that it is a one-on-one messenger app. Couples can not only text but record memorable days and post photos.
(Photo courtesy of Vulcan Post)

 
Dates courses, couple rings, and matching items
 

Korean couples usually visit cafes, watch movies, and take a walk together. However, to break away from the boring, general style of dating, they prepare a ‘date course’ to make their dates much interesting and enjoyable. Due to Korean couples’ tendency to visit places and make special memories, theme cafes such as cat and dog cafes are very popular. There are also couple date course apps called Daisy and Date Pop. The ‘date course’ varies by weather and season, and the most famous course is visiting Yeouido or Lake Seokchon in spring to see cherry blossoms in full bloom.
 
Cherry blossom festival is a famous date course for Korean couples. 
(Photo courtesy of http://blog.enter6.co.kr/1733)

Couples all over the world buy their rings before their marriage; however Korean couples purchase their rings by the 100th day. The so-called ‘couple rings’ are usually less expensive than marriage rings, but still come with various decorations and designs. Targeting couples who are finding unique couple rings, there also exists ring making theme cafés to help those who desire to create their own rings.
 
Finally, matching clothing items and accessories are worn by Korean couples which include hats, shoes, bracelets, and much more. The similar fashion of couples is called ‘couple look’, and it is on the wish lists of many couples. Korean couples with a ‘couple look’ is not hard to find, varying from clothes with similar patterns to ones with the exact same colors and designs. Usually, couples wear the ‘couple look’ when they are on special dates, such as going to an amusement park. 
 
Many Korean couples like to wear matching clothes.
(Photo courtesy of Dispatch)



Jang Soo-hyun        luxkari@hanyang.ac.kr
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