Valentine’s Day in Japan

A unique way of celebrating Valentine’s Day is seen in the country of Japan. The festival is closely related and linked with the celebration of White Day in the country. Just like any other place in the world, Valentine’s Day in Japan is celebrated on 14th February. Exactly one month after that i.e. on 14th March, the Japanese observe the festival known as White Day. The latter can, in fact, be regarded as an extension of the Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated with much grandeur in the region. A day of love and friendship – yes, that’s what the festival means for the locals and the natives! The entire festival is like a rollercoaster ride of endless fun and enjoyment. Parties, clubbing and fiestas – they are vital and almost mandatory during the celebrations and the youth can be found enjoying some precious moments with either their friends or their partners. Read on to explore all about Valentine’s Day traditions in Japan.

Valentine’s Day Celebrations in Japan
On Valentine’s Day, a very peculiar custom seen in Japan is the presenting of gifts by the females to their boyfriends. This is considered as a favor, which the men folk return on 14th March, during White Day. Chocolates are very popular during such times and two commonly preferred varieties are the giri-choco and the hon-mei. Each of these two varieties has its own special significance and should be gifted accordingly. The giri-choco is gifted to friends, bosses, colleagues and close male friends and has no romantic association. In fact, ‘giri’ in Japanese means obligation and these chocolates commonly purchased from the local markets or the gift stores. Girls also make sure that they buy giri-chocos for every male they know, as not receiving these chocolates can be embarrassed.

The second variety of chocolates i.e. hon-mei is particularly meant for lovers, boyfriends and husbands. These chocolates are homemade, as the Japanese girls consider that if they buy chocolates for their mate, it is not true love. It is considered lucky for any male to receive the hon-mei on the event of Valentine’s Day. The festival is very popular among the youth, though the adults take equal participation in the arrangements. Apart from chocolates, Valentine’s cards and other tokens of love are exchanged between lovers. Different ways are adopted by people to celebrate the occasion. Some prefer it private and romantic, some others make a beeline towards the popular clubs and discotheques in the city.

On Valentine’s Day in Japan, couples are not the only ones involved in the celebration, rather it is also a time when friends get together to spend some quality time with each other. Coming down to White Day celebrations in Japan, they are said to have been initiated as a marketing tool by marshmallow chocolate company in the 1960s. On March 14 or White Day, men are supposed to give return gifts of chocolates to women (who gifted them chocolates on February 14). The color of the chocolate is generally white, as per the name of the day. These days, men also gift flowers, candies and other gifts, along with the chocolates. Thus, the festival is like a delightful break from the monotonous routine of a daily life and is thoroughly enjoyed by the people.