After seeing the first snow fall in Seoul and experiencing Christmas in Seoul last year, I am starting to have those hatred-filled moments at all the couples passing by. It's more of a moment of jealousy and being away from home, but nonetheless, I am happy for those who are able to have a special someone to share this holiday with. When I say a special someone, I literally mean it.
Christmas in Korea is a holiday for the couples, not for family. In fact, many single guys and girls start going crazy and try to find that potential dating partner starting in autumn because they do not want to be alone for the Christmas holiday. Most gun to have their special 100th day to land on Christmas day (this 100th day is equivalent to the our 1 month or 1 year celebration). The big day of confession is Septemer 17th which is more popular among the younger age group, but it is still something special.
There is also the big day of December 4th where people confess their love so that the 100th day will be March 14 (White day). White day is the Korean equivalent of Valentine's. February 14th is actually the day where girls give gifts to guys. It is the opposite so do not get your hopes high for a gift on this day!
Although it is a couple's holiday, you can still find Christmas decorations all over Seoul. One of the more popular places to go to during the Christmas holiday is Myeondong, Dongdaemun, Gangnam, and of course Namsan for the N Tower. You can bring a lock with your significant other and add to the collection of love locks at the top of the tower.
In alignment with the Christmas holiday, people are also filled with happiness. This merry holiday season has an affect on the Koreans as well because they are more likely to make donations to help others. You can find a handful of donation boxes in the train stations so be sure to do your part and donate as well, just like you would back at home!
The one way to dodge all this couple madness is to find someone of your own (if you are single). There are people who are still trying to hook up their single friends so everyone can be full of love and happiness on this very special day. That or you can always bond with other foreigners and celebrate Christmas just as you would back at home. It is a little difficult to find the traditional Christmas goodies like eggnog, but supplements can be made.
Being a teacher in Korea doesn't mean you have to miss out on all of the holiday activities. A family company dinner always happens before Christmas in my branch, and there is an annual Secret Santa gift exchange. I must admit, Secret Santa in Korea actually works out better than it does back at home. Almost everyone was actually able to keep their exchange a secret. Other than sticking around this holiday season, many of my co-workers are actually going home for this holiday season. This is where I am coming in on my three month term break and filling in. Never have I ever worked or gone to school on my birthday, but I will be at work this year! It'll be one new memory to add to my collection of memories in Korea.
At the very least, I will be celebrating my birthday a few days ahead of time in Japan. Make your holiday memory special by doing something else. Don't dwell over the lonely holiday because your family is miles away. There's always ways to get around that! Happy Holidays from Korea.
Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes. With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!