Updated: Jun 22, 2018
14th March is just around the corner! For those who understand Japanese culture, that day is quite special. While most part of the world only celebrates Valentine's Day, there's a custom Made-in-Japan that marked White Day which is exactly a month after V-Day.
White Day is like the “answer day” of Valentine's Day. Indeed, in most countries Valentine's Day on 14th February is just an occasion for anybody to exchange gifts of affection. However, things are different in Japan.
Valentine's Day in Japan is the day when girls or women give chocolate to the special men in their lives. Young Japanese schoolgirls enjoy to celebrate this day, in order to send a strong sign for the boy they likes without saying so.
There are two kinds of chocolates given by Japanese women on Valentine's Day. Either it's “obligation chocolate” (called Giri-choco), or it's “chocolate of love” (called Honmei-choco).
Giri-choco is meant to be given to men without romance involved, say, friends and colleagues. On the other hand, women in Japan prepare the Honmei-choco to their true love. They prepare the chocolate by themselves, since they believe it's not true love if they buy ready-made one from chocolate stores.
So, what Japanese men do Valentine's Day? Well, they just the recipients on that day. But a month later, they can buy something back to the girls who gave them chocolate on Valentine's Day.
White Day was started in 1978 by the confectionery company. They're promoting men to buy something in return of the chocolate given for them on Valentine's Day. Held in 14th March, White Day is the reverse of Valentine's Day custom in Japan.
Japanese men often return the favour by giving gifts, such as marshmallows, cookies, white chocolate, white lingerie, jewellery. There's the term “sanbai gaeshi”, which means men are expected to give two or three times the worth of the Valentine's gift.
Surprisingly, the gift has its own meanings. Giving marshmallows means the man is not interested in budding romance with the lady; giving cookies also doesn't mean there's romance involved but just being a good friend; giving candies shows the lasting love to a special lady.
Apart from those three, Japanese men are usually give other sweets. Cakes, pies and jellies to name a few. Those sweets won't make any confusion to the women like marshmallows, cookies and candies.
As interesting as it is, Japan’s White Day gains more popularity these days. Other countries near Japan started to celebrate White Day annually. White Day observed in a similar manner in China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Probably soon, people in Singapore can follow to celebrate White Day! You can start the trend by buying something sweet on J Passport. There's a in conjunction with White Day. The store serves White Day collection you can choose and buy for your loved ones.