You’re probably thinking that Valentine’s Day is over, and Easter is the next chocolate holiday on the horizon. But Valentine’s Day is not quite over everywhere. Today many people in Japan, and other Asian countries including Taiwan, South Korea and China, will celebrate White Day. Typically, women shower men with chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day, and White Day is when men reciprocate.
White Day was first celebrated in Japan in 1978. It was launched by the National Confectionery Industry Association as a day for men to reciprocate the gifts that were given to them on Valentine’s Day. Originally, a confectionery company called Ishimura Manseido dubbed the holiday ‘Marshmallow Day’ in the late seventies, marketing marshmallows to men. When that didn’t take off, it was changed to White Day.
In Japan, there are typically two types of chocolate given on Valentine’s Day – ‘giri-choco’ or ‘courtesy/obligation chocolate’ is given to male friends, colleagues and bosses, meant signify obligation without any romantic connotation. ‘Honmei-choco’ or ‘chocolate of love’ which is meant for people in romantic relationships. Handmade chocolate is considered most special, because of the time and effort associated with making your own gift.
On White Day, men are expected to reciprocate. Many men give white gifts in keeping with the name of the holiday, so white chocolate is often a popular choice. Cookies, flowers, jewelry, and white lingerie are also popular. Some men abide by the rule of sanbai-gaeshiin or ‘triple return’, meaning that the gift should be three times the value of what he was given. Ladies, that could be some fabulous chocolate!
Happy White Day to all who are celebrating today! Any day celebrated with chocolate is a good day!
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