As we know cultures are all different no matter where you go, even in cities inside the same country. So it's not surprising when you find out that even things as random as dating are different as well.
Let's talk about Korea. I’m guessing this is the main reason why you clicked on this blog because you have some sort of interest in Korean culture. Dating in Korea is somehow different from other countries. As a conservative country, it is common that the men pay for most of the things a couple would do or eat when you go on a date. This might not be so different from other countries, but now-days it's more common to see couples splitting the bill for dinner or when they go out to the movies; one would pay for the food while the other the entrance/tickets. But, in Korea, it's more like a tradition than anything else for the guy to pay for things on behalf of his partner.
In terms of anniversaries, most couples in Korea celebrate much more than just monthly or yearly milestones as you would in other countries. An important anniversary amongst Korean couples is the day known as, 100th day. This first 100th day it's the most important, but some other couples also celebrate the 200 days, 300 days, 400 days and so on. This day is a special date where you can receive or give an extra bouquet of flowers, have a romantic dinner, give surprises and more. It depends mostly on the couple and what they would enjoy to have or do. It is usually expected for the guy to make plans for the 100-day celebration or at least for the couple to plan the day with each other beforehand on what to do but without losing the romance throughout the process.
This is how it is in Korea. While most could say “ok, it's like an anniversary. What difference does it have from the 3 months anniversary?”, I’ll have to be entirely honest, I don't know exactly what makes the 100 days anniversary any different from a 3 month anniversary, but it's a celebration that has a lot of meaning to Koreans. I’d like to think that it has something to do with a similar celebration that is really important to them as well. This 100 days significance is also recognized in a child’s first 100 days of life. On this day parents celebrate that their child has endured the first vulnerable days of life. Perhaps its similar with the couples; it could be the same idea where couples celebrate that they have endured the vulnerable first phase of their romantic relationships and that they are ready to continue with a stronger bond.
But, what exactly do people do on this 100th-day celebration?
Well as I already said, it really depends on the couple, but in most Korean relationships it is typical that the guy buys “couple rings”, a bunch of flowers, and most likely a nice dinner to surprise their partner and have an unforgettable romantic day. The rings symbolize that you're in a relationship, but it's not the same as an engagement rings. You wear a couple ring on the ring finger of your left hand and a couples ring doesn’t guarantee that you will get married; it simple shows others that you are in a relationship. It is mostly young couples that do this, however.
In Korea, romantic relationships and the celebration of them is something really important that sometimes can be experienced to the extreme. Even holidays that are not romantically related at all for us, like Christmas, are almost exclusively couple holidays since they’re holidays meant to be spent with loved ones. So don't get too surprised if one day you asked a Korean if they are excited for Christmas and they respond by saying something like “No. I'm single.”
Korea also celebrates different days where they can express their love, (mostly the 14th of each month). These days are exclusively made for couples or in some cases like April 14, where single individuals have a day to “celebrate” themselves. This day is for anti-romance or single people who don’t really have anyone they can be romantic with. But we can go into further detail on this holiday some other time. For now let just enjoy the triumph of the 100 days.
Written by Yarel P.