Dressed in black and eating jjajangmyeon (noodles in Black Bean Sauce) – this is how single people in South Korea are celebrating Black Day today. It’s an unofficial holiday in the country, dedicated to those who are not in a relationship.
Sometimes called ‘Single’s Day’, Black Day is the only holiday when people celebrate being unmarried or unattached to someone romantically.
The annual celebration falls two months after Valentine’s Day and one month after White Day when people who received gifts during Valentine's Day return the gesture.
South Korean netizens and fans of K-culture (Korean culture) from around the world took to different social media channels to share updates about their celebration.
“Today being Black Day in Korea, my feed is just compilations of K-drama characters eating jjajangmyeon,” wrote Twitter user @crqstalsnow.
And, Instagrammer @727_ioi posted a photo of lunch with the caption: “Black Day's main food is Jjajangmyeon and squid rice soup… Today's pizza was even better fresh out of the oven!”
How is Black Day celebrated?
Many Korean culture blogs and websites say that initially, April 14 was seen as a sad day, when people who were not in a relationship, or had not gotten gifts on Valentine’s Day or White Day, would come together to mourn their singleness and drown their sorrows in comfort food.
However, modern times saw a shift in the way the day was observed. From a day of mourning, it became a day of celebration with food and clothes that were black. Some women even wear black nail polish.
Kang Kyeongbong, a 28-year-old South Korean expatriate in Abu Dhabi, celebrates by enjoying what he loves most. He told Gulf News: “I stay in bed the entire day and watch horror movies, which are my favourite. I just do what I enjoy doing.”
Meanwhile, Youngwang Kim, another UAE-based South Korean expatriate, celebrates by going out with his friends. He said: “I go to fancy restaurants with my male friends and eat out.”
“In South Korea, many people celebrate Black Day by eating 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon), which are noodles in black bean sauce. You may see companies holding 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) eating contests for groups or single people enjoying this black noodle dish in solitude. The sauce’s black colour goes according to the day’s name. The 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) dish is also seen as comfort food by many...,” says an article on the Korean language website 90daykorean.com.
“There is also an intriguing spike in the sales of black coffee, and companies may offer some matchmaking events to single people on Black Day,” the article added.
But, UAE-based South Korean expatriate Soo Jeon is not a fan of jjajangmyeon. She celebrates with another dish instead. “I eat jjamppong, Chinese-style noodles with vegetables and seafood,” said the 37-year-old.
Want to join Black Day celebrations with a bowl of Jjajangmyeon? Soo Jeon’s mother, Keum Ran Won, who owns a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, which serves Japanese and Korean cuisine, shared her recipe with Gulf News readers. Get the recipe here.