How to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Korea?

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Valentine's Day in Korea

Just like the rest of the world, Koreans celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14 too. In case you might be wondering, what do couples do to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Korea? It could be going on a short trip together, expressing “I love you” to their partners, buying meaningful gifts for each other, or just spending this special occasion together, there are many ways to make it a memorable date! Let’s take a look at some unique couple activities on Valentine’s Day in Korea!

Couple activities on Valentine’s Day in Korea

Crafting hand-made couple rings

While buying rings off the shelf could be a little more convenient, the combined effort put into crafting a ring from scratch is undoubtedly more meaningful! As demand increases for accessory workshops, there are more and more places that offer such services. It may not just be couple rings, there are other workshops for clay wares, leather making, art classes and many more!

Locking your love at Namsan Tower

As many already know, one famous couple activity to do in Seoul is visiting the Namsan Tower (남산타워) not just for the scenic view or taking the cable car, but to get the love lock, write the couple’s names on it and lock it. One interesting thing about buying the love locks at Namsan Tower is that the lock comes without any key. Once the love lock is locked, you can’t unlock it! On Valentine’s Day in Korea, doing this will signify the couple’s strong love for each other.

Photo booth, a romantic activity for Valentine's Day in Korea

Couple photo shoot at a Korean studio

We may have heard a lot about family photo shoots or wedding photo shoots but uncommonly, a couple photo shoot. It could be a little strange to book a studio to get a couple photo shoot done but in Korea, it is trending. What’s better than to have a couple photo shoot to commemorate a special day together? With the help of professional photographers and editors, the quality of the outcome is assured. Nonetheless, it could cost over KRW100,000 for a single session.

Or have you heard of insaengnekeot (인생네컷)? When translated directly, it means “4 cuts of life”, which is a photo booth! Super conveniently located at many places in Korea, couples can just head to one and take pictures which takes less than 5 minutes. The good part is that it is economically priced at KRW4,000! Of course, depending on the type of photo layout, it may cost a little more.

Caricature drawing for couples

One other couple activity that is gaining popularity is caricature drawing! The artist draws an imitation of the two in which certain facial features are exaggerated to create a comical effect. In the past, caricature drawing booths usually appeared at events or as pop-up stores but recently, these specialised shops have been almost everywhere in hotspots like Myeongdong (명동) and Hongdae (홍대). The shops are normally crowded and a waiting line is expected but it will be an interesting Valentine’s Day couple experience!

Valentine’s Day gifts

Chocolates

Did you know that while Valentine’s Day in Korea used to be an occasion where women buy gifts for their partners, on White Day, men reciprocate by buying gifts for the women? One common gift is giving chocolates, and this practice is still common to this day! The only difference is that recently, gifts have been exchanged on both Valentine’s Day and White Day. Chocolates though common, is still a tradition that has been around for a long time. Don’t be afraid to prepare chocolates for your loved ones during this day!

Flowers

Another choice will have to be flowers. Are you aware that giving flowers follows the basis of love language? For instance, red roses are the perfect representation of true love and romance. Red tulips and red lilies both symbolize unconditional love and passion. While red is widely associated with love, other flowers with other shades such as Dhalias and Forget-me-nots are also very popular. Both represent everlasting love, respect and commitment. Get your partner the perfect flowers to show your love for them this Valentine’s Day!

Couple outfits and accessories

Couple items are a thing! The Korean couple culture includes showcasing love for each other by donning couple outfits, and accessories and even having the same couple photo as screen wallpaper. Couple rings will probably top the list but what are some other couple’s favorites? Some include phone casings, caps, shoes, bracelets, bags, and many more. The key is to get identical ones.

Unwavering love like Chunhyangjeon on Valentine’s Day

In Korean mythology, many famous folklores represent the Korean culture and beliefs. One of the best-known love folk tales of Korea is Chunhyangjeon (춘향전, The Tale of Chunhyang). Set in the Joseon (조선) dynasty, this story depicts the “fell in love at first sight” story between Chunhyang (춘향), and Yi Mongryong (이몽룡). Eventually, the two illegally married each other. One day, Yi Mongryong was forced to go to Seoul with his father so Chunhyang gave Yi Mongryong a ring as a token of her love for him and promised to stay faithful to him. 

Years after, Yi Mongryong became an Amhaengeosa (암행어사,  secret royal inspector) and returned under disguise. Despite pretending to be poor, Chunhyang still loves him. Her faithfulness deeply moved Yi Mongryong. The two reunited and lived happily ever after. The Tale of Chunhyang witnessed how pure and unwavering love can be even in Ancient Korea. Just like couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, expressing their strong and unfaltering love for each other!

Valentine's Day in Korea

Romantic Valentine’s Day-themed vocabulary

While Saranghae (사랑해) is well-spoken even among foreigners these days, what are other Korean words or phrases you can use to express love? Let’s start with cheesy lines:

나는 너를 오랫동안 사랑하고 싶어.
(na-neun neo-reul o-laet-dong-an sa-rang-ha-go sip-eo)
I want to love you for a long time.

내 곁에 있어줘서 고마워.
(nae gyeo-te i-sseo-jwo-seo go-ma-wo)
Thank you for being by my side.

평생 함께 보내자.
(pyeong-saeng ham-kke bo-nae-ja)
Let’s spend our lives together.

When you are giving a gift, you can say:

너는 꽃처럼 예뻐.
(neo-neun kkot-cheo-reom ye-ppeo)
You’re beautiful like the flowers.

나는 너를 생각하면서 이 선물을 준비했어.
(na-neun neo-reul saeng-gak-ha-myeon-seo i seon-mu-reul jun-bi-hae-sseo)
I prepared the gift while thinking of you.

내가 너를 사랑하는 만큼 그 선물을 좋아했으면 좋겠어.
(nae-ga neo-reul sa-rang-ha-neun man-keum keu seon-mu-reul joh-a-hae-sseu-myeon joh-ge-sseo)
I hope you like the gift as much as I love you.

When you are receiving a gift, you can say:

선물을 준비하면서 나를 생각해줘서 고마워.
(seon-mu-reul jun-bi-ha-myeon-seo na-reul saeng-gak-hae-jwo-seo go-ma-wo)
Thank you for thinking of me while preparing the gift.

나는 네 사랑만 필요해.
(na-neun ne sa-rang-man pil-yo-hae)
I only need your love.

이 세상에서 너만 나를 가장 잘 알아.
(i se-sang-e-seo neo-man na-reul ga-jang jal a-ra)
In this world, only you know me the best.

Are you ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Korea? If you are interested in learning more ways to express love and affection, read our article on “How to say I love you in Korean“. Alternatively, follow the Go! Go! Hanguk blog for more content and be sure to contact us about living and studying in Korea!

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