By Ada Li
Many of us are aware of Valentine’s Day, a day where one showers their significant other with superficial gifts and some good ol’ fashion love. Most couples adore Valentine’s Day, whereas some people—and not just singles–loathe the holiday. These people view Valentine’s Day as a commodification of love or as making the singles feel left out on one of the most special days of the year.
Interestingly enough, Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan celebrate White Day in addition to Valentine’s Day. White Day share similarities with Valentine’s Day, except people celebrate it on March 14th, a month after Valentine’s Day. Imagine how horrible it would be to live in a country where there are two days where single people feel left out. However, White Day and Valentine’s Day are celebrated much differently than what we’re used to.
White Day started in Japan in the 1980s. Originally, White Day was known as Marshmallow Day, a holiday created by a Fukuoka confectionery company in hopes of increasing their sales.
Well, their plan failed.
The Japanese did not buy the idea of giving marshmallows to their significant other as a sign of love. Even though the marshmallow idea failed, the idea behind the holiday gained interest amongst other confectionary companies. Instead of Marshmallow Day, it became White Day, where the main attraction is white chocolate. In recent years, people started giving out stuffed animals, jewelry, cookies, and even lingerie to express their love.
In comparison to an American Valentine’s Day, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese people celebrate their special day completely different.
In most cases, the male recipient is the female’s crush, so she is the one who gives out the chocolate. A lot of times, females take advantage of Valentine’s Day to confess their love through chocolate.
A popular activity to do during Valentine’s Day is making chocolate. A lot of females make the chocolate themselves instead of giving out store bought candy because they perceive it as more personal and sincere. In Japan, there are two types of chocolate females can give away: honmei-choco, chocolate of love; and giri-choco, courtesy chocolate. Boyfriends or crushes receive honmei-choco and friends, family, and coworkers receive giri-choco.
Then on White Day, men who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving the female chocolate. Even if the male doesn’t like the female, he should give her courtesy chocolate so that he doesn’t come across as rude. If the male feels the same about the female, he will give her honmei-choco. Isn’t that adorable?
Even though White Day is another holiday for companies to make money off consumers, the concept behind both Valentine’s Day and White Day in these countries are very cute.
Maybe it is time for America to hop on this bandwagon.