Love it or loath it, Valentine’s Day is safely behind us…or is it? In Japan, February 14 is but the first of three romance-related holidays. The second, which falls on March 14, is known as White Day. (Keep an eye out for a post about the third installment, Black Day, next month.)
What it is:
Unlike in the U.S., Valentine’s Day in Japan consists of women giving chocolate to men. The offerings range from lavish and homemade for those with whom they’re involved, to store-bought candies for bosses, friends, or relatives. White Day is the reverse: the men then return the favor, buying chocolate (typically white) and other gifts for women. The general rule is, spend three times as much as she spent on the initial present. Anything less is viewed as an insult.
How it started:
White Day is a holiday rife with commercialism. A Japanese marshmallow company branded March 14 ‘Marshmallow Day’ in 1977, with the idea that men ought to reciprocate. But as anyone who’s ever eaten either one can attest, chocolate > marshmallows—by far. By the next year, ‘Marshmallow Day’ had evolved into ‘White Day.’ Since then, the tradition has spread to other Asian countries as well.
How to partake:
Give chocolate. Eat (3x more) chocolate. Demand that others buy you chocolate, lest they offend you.