South Korea Uncategorized

‘How do you feel about Pi?’


Here in Korea they love their couple related holidays. So much so, they have whole days dedicated to coupledom. Normally falling on the 14th of each month, Korea’s couple holidays mean big business for the candy / chocolate / greeting cards / motel companies.

Following on the heels of February 14th’s Valentine’s Day, comes March 14th’s White Day. Originating in Japan in the late 1960’s and initially called Marshmallow Day, a name I really think should have stuck, White Day celebrates love in the traditional way: the art of gift giving.

Unlike Europe and North America, in Japan/Korea/Taiwan/China, Valentine’s Day is traditionally the day women give gifts to men. Usually of the chocolate variety, these gifts are given to the boyfriend, the male co-workers and the men she has regular contact with. White Day, on the other hand, is the reciprocation day of these gifts.

But where the women must give gifts to men she has regular contact with, men must only give gifts to the woman they are in a relationship with. Named ‘White Day’ for the color of the marshmallows, gifts for this day range from white chocolate to white candy to white lingerie and beyond. In Korea, they lean more towards the candy and chocolate arena with convenience stores selling elaborate candy inspired displays of affection and love made especially for the day.

In the same way receiving a Hallmark card on your birthday marks someone’s want to show you you mean enough to them for them to spend $3 on a card, receiving candy from your love on White Day is seen as a validation of your relationship and of his love for you. It’s said the gift should be three times the price of the gift he received from you on Valentine’s Day, which in theory is a fantastic rule to have.

It’s worth noting, however, after two months of love related gift giving, comes April 14th’s Black Day. A day for all the singletons to gather together, wear dark clothing and eat a bowl of jajangmyeon(noodles with black bean sauce).


Incidentally jajangmyeon is one of my favorite Korean foods, however I do feel eating it on April 14th may send the wrong message to The Canadian One. Perhap if I do it while wearing pastel colors and a big smile on my face I might get away with it though.

Now, we aren’t really into these candy related holidays (although I would never say no to a gift – if you’re reading this Maple Leaf, I would like a Forever 21 gift card…it’s worth a try). Instead we celebrate a different holiday on March 14th. In addition to being White Day and Einstein’s birthday, March 14th (03/14) marks International Pi Day. A day when all things pi and pie related are celebrated.

Started in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, Pi Day was first celebrated in the San Franscisco Exploritorium with staff marching in a circle and then eating fruit pies. Why a circle, you say. Well, if you remember your high school math classes, you’ll remember Pi is used to represent the relationship between a circle’s diameter (the width) and the circle’s circumference (the distance around the circle).  Don’t worry, I didn’ t remember that either. Google to the rescue. To two decimal points, Pi is 3.14 and hence, March 14th is the day for it to be celebrated.

Like St. Patrick’s Day to my people or Canada Day for the The Canadian One, Pi Day is a day for all Pi enthusiasts to have their moment and wave their flag. Now celebrated around the world, the San Fransisco Exploritorium continues to hold a celebration each year to mark the day. Even MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has gotten in on the action with their students wishing each other a Happy Pi Day and the school board trying to time its acceptance letters arriving on the morning of March 14th.

So on March 14th, instead of celebrating our love of each other, The Canadian One and I will be celebrating our love of pie.

Our pie from last year (and the first pie I’ve ever made!)

Although, again, a gift would be more than welcome. And by my calculations, I took him to the movies on Valentine’s Day, a venture which cost $18.

18 x 3 = 54

A $54 gift card for Forever 21 could potentially get me a pretty dress AND a cardigan to wear with it. Then again, he bought dinner that night which came to $56 which means if he paid for that when it wasn’t technically his turn, I should, in theory, pay for something on White Day when it’s not my turn. If it’s got to be three times the amount, that’s $168 so perhaps we’ll just call it even and stick to our plan of ‘drink a beer and eat some apple pie’…with him paying for the apples, obviously.

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