What’s Pink, White, and Chocolate All Over?

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As Valentine’s Day approaches in Japan, every girl runs around  trying to make different kinds of chocolate desserts for her boyfriend or the guy who has caught her eye and captured her heart.  Even TV commercials are filled with advertisements for chocolate in which a girl is shown making sweets for the one she loves.

In Japanese culture, February 14th is all about girls expressing their love to the ones they care about.  Even the type of chocolate is important! There is “giri choco”, which is chocolate given to classmates, co-workers, or people for whom one is thankful.  There is also “tomo choco”, which is for friends.  Tomo literally translates as “friends” in Japanese.  These chocolates can be hand made or bought.

However, the “honmei choco” is handmade because it is for one’s significant other.  Unlike the United States, the guys just wait for their chocolates.

However, there is a special day called “White Day” on March 14, on which the guys return their love and gratitude to the girls.

“White Day” is not celebrated in the U.S., but it is really popular in Japan and in other Asian countries.  It is basically the day where the guys give gifts to the person from whom he  received the chocolate on Valentines Day.  He will usually give white chocolate or cookies, but it doesn’t have to be sweet.  Some men prefer to give jewelry to express their love.  There is a chocolate or gift exchange tradition lasting from Valentine’s Day through White Day. In Asian countries, it is a big deal for girls to express their love to their loved ones and for males to reciprocate.  

There is also another interesting day called “Black Day.”  This is an informal celebration in Korea for the people who did not receive any chocolate or gifts to celebrate their single life.  Both men and women eat jajangmyeon, a traditional Korean noodle dish with black bean sauce, hence the meaning behind “Black Day.” 

Isn’t it surprising that Valentine’s Day is more than just a one day event.  It is just the beginning of the celebration of love or the continuation of the joy of single life.

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