FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $80 !
Posted by Swan Domergue on Feb 16, 2021
The first thing is that February 14th is Valentine's Day, a special day dedicated to lovers that give them a chance to show the love they feel for their partner.
The second is that Japan has some cultural points that you won't find anywhere else, and this concern various subjects including this special day, and that is a thing that many peope ignore and that we will discover all along this article !
The History of Valentine's Day!
The importance of Valentine's day varies according to couples, some of them will see it as an important feast which needs to be celebrated with your faithful soul mate, while others will just see it as a commercial celebration that allow the actors of our capitalist world to make more profit. But did you know that in the Christian religion this day actually has a long history that has been celebrated for many centuries?
Who was Saint Valentine?
Because the celebration of Valentine's Day dates back to approximatively 500AD, several legends explain this specific day and the reason why it happens on February 14th.
One legend says that Saint Valentine was a martyr that was executed by the Roman emperor Claudius II after refusing to convert people to paganism. Like most of the sentenced to death people, he spent some times in jail before his execution and fell in love with his jailer's daughter after miraculously healing her from a serious illness and converting her to Christianity
Another legend says that Saint Valentine was a Roman Priest who held weddings for soldiers that was actually not allowed to get married because the Roman Emperor would see them as bad soldiers who could not be good warriors due to their family responsibilities. This Saint Valentine put on a ring with Cupid-a symbol of love-to help soldiers recognize him. And, before making the greeting cards, he distributed paper hearts to remind Christians of their love for God.
Anyway, what we notice is that Valentine was a saint who opposed the Roman Empire to assert its values based on the love of people. And Valentine's Day is actually a feast that celebrate the bravour of this priest and the power of love.
An event celebrated all over the world
We saw that Valentine's Day was basically a Christian festival, but like most of them (Christmas, Easter....) it became a tradition in all the countries, and the interesting point is to see how the people celebrate the day of love according to their culture.
In Argentina for example, we do not talk about a Valentine's Day to celebrate love but about a full week of sweetness that occurs in July when lovers exchange kisses and chocolates all the week long.
In Bulgaria 14th of February is called "San Trifon Zartan" which literally means "the day of winemakers". The couples will traditionally buy an expensive bottle of wine and share it on that day to celebrate their love.
In Ghana, February 14 is celebrated as "National Chocolate Day". The Ghanaian government took this step in 2007 to increase the country’s tourism industry. Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producing countries in the world. On February 14, people can participate in performances, music events and restaurants with a special day themed menu.
We will not detail all the traditions of each country on Valentine's day as this article will take years to be read, however we will recommend to people fond of discovering foreign cultures to get inform about how to celebrate the day of love in the different region of the world since it is a really interesting subject to learn.
Valentine's Day in Japan
Among all the ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, the Japanese tradition is as usual very unique and interesting.
First of all, it's surprising to know that the tradition of Valentine's Day arrived pretty late in Japan since 14th of February did not have any specific meaning in Japan before 1950s. Also, while Valentine's Day it's known to be an event that gives the opportunity to couples ( both women and men) to show their love to each other by exchanging gifts in the Western countries, in Japan only women bear the pressure of offering presents to their partner in mid-February. This is absolutely not due to the patriarchal image that the japanese society has, indeed the tradition requires men to give presents back to their lover one month later during the White Day that we will explain more accurately later in this article.
A Chocolate Day
Before World War II, most of the western customs and products did not even exist in Japan. Indeed in our previous article about Kit-Kat we explained that even chocolate was not consumed on the archipelago before the 50s. The American domination after the armistice allowed Japan to be much more open to other cultures and to import more products from the West including chocolate.
The best way to promote this new addictive product was to link it with a new tradition also coming from the West. This is how the Japanese department stores decided to kill two birds with one stone and started business campaigns.
The targeted people are women who want to buy the cutest and yummiest treat to their lovers. The Japanese grocery stores did not hesitate to focus on the packaging to seduce their customers and this is why from the beginning of February the stores shelves are full of different types of chocolate boxes offering a various range of tastes and shapes in order to satisfy the demand of the beloved girls.
Yes, Japan is probably the country where consumers are the packaging influences consumers the most, and this also explain why some stores will also offer a wrapping service in order to make the box even more special.
Different kinds of chocolate
Another interesting point to underline in the culture of Valentine's Day in Japan is that people do not offer chocolate only to their partners. Indeed the goal of this special day is to offer treats to the persons that you love and they are not only limited to your lover.
Therefore, the Japanese chocolate makers took advantage of this to create a various range of chocolates dedicated to your partner, your co-workers, your family and even...yourself!!
Nevertheless, Valentine's Day is not exclusively about chocolates. Even though the tradition and marketing push women to offer many kinds of chocolates to their different relatives and friends some of them will prefer to offer other kinds of presents especially to their partners. The most common gifts beside of chocolate are usually: Watches, neckties, gloves, shirts or simply a romantic weekend in a fancy hotel.
Exactly one month after Valentine's Day, on March 14th, role reverse and it's time for men to show their love and gratitude. Likewise Valentine's Day, men offer sweets and other tokens of affection for the women in their life and those include: partners, family members, co-workers and friends.
Not about Chcolate
We saw that Valentine's Day is mainly about chocolates, but White Day is slightly different. White Day was actually invented by a Japanese confectionary back in the 70s, which encouraged men to buy marshmallows to women in return of the chocolates they received for Valentine's Day a month before. Therefore at that time, men were mainly buying marshmallows for their lovers but nowadays, the will usually fancy cookies at macarons to express their love and emotions. Another common treat is white a chocolate which refers to the name of the feast chosen for its associations with purity happiness in most of the Asian cultures.
Beside (or in addition to) sweets, White Day gifts might also be luxury items such as jewelry, high brand purses and clothes or a dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant. As the famous quotation says "When you love you don't count" and there is no prices that will avoid someone to show its gratitude for his soul mate. It is usually expected from men to spend more money on White Day that women would do on Valentine's Day but this is not a strict rule that is mandatory to be respected, and isn't the free power of love the most important thing after all ?
Happy Valentine's and White Day!
Now that you know everything about Valentine's and White Day in Japan, if you are a Gaijin living in here or if you share your life with a Japanese partner abroad, you know exactly what the Japanese expect on those specific days and you do not have any excuse to not spoil the people that you love. Feel free to comment your experiences on this article and to see our catalog to find the perfect sweets and chocolates to offer!
← Older Post
Newer Post →
Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.