Valentine’s Day is widely recognized in the West as a chance to declare your love for that particular person in your life and show them how much you care by giving them gifts or making plans to go on the ideal date. Typically, the man is expected to do all the work and buy their girl a variety of sweets to celebrate the special day and show their love. But did you know about White Day?
On Valentine’s Day, girls in Japan buy chocolates and other presents for the boys they like. White Day is observed on March 14th, one month later. The boys will purchase gifts for the girls who gave them gifts on Valentine’s Day on that day.
The White Day Tradition
Valentine’s Day is observed a little differently in Japan than in other countries. Men are typically expected to do very little on February 14, and women are expected to be the primary gift-givers. Not just to their partner but to any other men they have a close relationship with.
Another significant distinction is the type of gift given: whereas many nations accept cards, flowers, jewelry, or pricey dinners as Valentine’s Day presents, Japan only accepts copious amounts of chocolate.
Men don’t have to spend money on Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean they can avoid doing the same the rest of the year. Continue reading to learn about Japanese Valentine’s Day traditions and the day when men are expected to show their appreciation. (Source: J Rail Pass)
White Day and Valentine’s Day
The Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association successfully lobbied for implementing a reply day for men to return the gifts they had received from women on St. Valentine’s Day, which is when White Day was created.
The day was given its name because, in Japanese culture, white is closely linked to an innocent form of teen love and is regarded as a symbol of purity.
Men are expected to give girls gifts that are roughly two or three times as expensive as those they received a month earlier on White Day.
Giving the same amount of chocolate they received is interpreted as a sign that they want to end the relationship, while giving no gifts is seen as a scornful rejection. (Source: J Rail Pass)
Force Giving on Valentine’s Day?
Even though it has become customary for boys to give gifts on White Day and for girls to give chocolates on Valentine’s Day, many Japanese women have recently begun to rebel against what they perceive to be a stressful tradition of “forced giving.”
Giving Giri-choco causes most unease, as women frequently experience extreme pressure to spend thousands of yen on chocolate to please their employers and coworkers. In Japan, many businesses have responded by outlawing the practice to reduce perceived harassment.
Many Japanese women claim that instead of feeling pressured to give Giri-chocolate, they are now more likely to give themselves Jibun-chocolate, give Tomo-chocolate to female family members and friends, or give homemade Honmei-chocolate to a significant other.
Perhaps as a sign of solidarity, more and more Japanese men are choosing to forgo the traditional White Day presents in favor of giving their partners, girlfriends, or crushes Gyaku-chocolate on Valentine’s Day. (Source: J Rail Pass)
Image from PinoySeoul