Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Japan Puts Their Own Twist on Valentine's Day with White Day

For us the holiday dedicated to love has been long forgotten till next year, but in Japan that was only one of two days reserved for romance!

Nearly one month ago people around the world celebrated Valentine's Day. It is common knowledge that this is a day for men to rush out for those red roses, box of chocolates, and dinner reservations- but Japan does Valentine's day a little differently. 

In Japan, it is custom for the women to express their love or friendship to men by presenting them with chocolates and chocolate gifts. When the chocolates are handmade it is meant to represent more sincerity, emotion, and effort on the woman's part. The favor is then returned to the women a month later with a holiday known as White Day.

On March 14th, it is custom in Japan for men to shower the woman in their life with gifts. Traditional White Day gifts include cookies, white chocolate, white lingerie, jewelry, and marshmallows. A general principle of the holiday is that the men who received a honmei-choco, or the chocolate of love, on Valentine's day are expected to pay two to three times the price when choosing their White day gift! The term sanbai gaeshi, literally translating to triple the return, is often used to describe this rule. 

Other countries in Asia also acknowledge White day but put a slightly different spin on it than China. For example, in China Valentine's day is where the men give women presents and White day is the day for women to return the favor. In Korea it is popular for children to exchange candies and chocolates with their classmates on both holidays. 

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