The international day where we celebrate love is coming close! But how do they celebrate Valentine's Day in Japan and in Korea? What is so different about it? How will you show your feelings to a Japanese man or woman? I'm going to cover some of these traditions in my post today.
On the 14th of February it is Valentine's Day of course. In Japan they have the tradition that on this special day women give presents to men. Most often they give chocolate. In common opinion it is the best if you give homemade chocolate to that special person in your life which the Japanese call 本命チョコhonmei-choco (chocolate of love). You can also use this if you would like to confess to someone. For your male friends and colleagues you can give store bought chocolate 義理チョコ giri choco (courtesy chocolate).
In return men who understood the value of your precious chocolate can give something back on the 14th of March. This day is called White Dayホワイトデー.
White Day, Marshmallow Day?
White Day was celebrated in 1978 in Japan for the first time. It was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association with the thought in mind there should be a ‘return day’ for Valentine’s day. In 1977 a confectionery company called Ishimuramanseido from Fukuoka marketed marshmallows on March 14, calling it ‘Marshmallow Day’ with the hope the men buy the marshmallows to give in return for their Valentine’s gifts. Soon after that other confectionery companies began marketing white chocolate.
Returning the favor
According to a survey by Ageil Media Network in 2010, 66% of the women questioned answered that they would prefer to receive handmade sweets in return for their efforts on Valentine's Day. They said it shows men's diligence and that they understand women's feelings. Also 63% of the questioned men said they would try to make sweets by themselves for White Day. For the men who are proud of their sweets making skills, nowadays they even have a competition for it in Japan which is called; 'White Day Daisakusen; ike otoko eno michi' (White Day Strategy; the way of cool men.) Other popular gifts are chocolate, sweets, cookies, white lingerie and marshmallows. There even is a unwritten rule which is called 三倍返 (sanbai gaeshi) and means ‘triple the return’. I think you can guess it means you can’t satisfy your special person with just a simple gift!
Valentine’s Day and White Day is also celebrated this way in Korea, China and Taiwan!
In Korea these kind of anniversaries are very important for couples. In Korea it's very likely to really show you are a couple. Many couples were matching outfits and have couple rings. They also have many special days which they need to remember. Ever celebrated 100-days dating day? Rose Day on May 14th or Kiss Day on June 14th? No? Me neither, but if you get a Korean girl or boyfriend you might will!
~ Mei mei