Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the world on February 14th of every year, and typically, it's a day for couples to get together, exchange chocolates and other gifts, and celebrate their love for one another. Japan does things a bit differently, though.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is the day where women give chocolate gifts to men. There is no exchange of presents unlike what most people do in other countries. Then, the following month which is March 14, men will return the favor by giving back sweets to the person who gave chocolates to him.
The History of “White Day”
Valentine’s Day first came to Japan during the 1960s. At the time, it wasn’t mandatory for men who received chocolate to return the favor at all.
Then, a confectionery shop called Ishimura Mansei-do and the National Confectionery Industry Association started referring to March 14 as White Day. The idea of White Day caught on and quickly spread to South Korea, Taiwan, and some parts of China as well.
The name “White Day” itself is used because white gives a sense of purity, and youngsters tend to use it as an expression of love.
What to Give on White Day
Most people give marshmallows, cookies, and candy on White Day, and each gift has its own unique meaning. If you’re going to be giving gifts this white day - you might want to pay attention!
Originally, chocolates covered in marshmallow were thought to stand for a girl’s feelings represented as chocolate returned back to them covered in pure love (marshmallow). But now, since marshmallows tend to melt and dissolve quickly, they are now commonly associated with feelings of unrequited or fleeting love.
Candy truly means “I like you”! This is because candy is something that you hold in your mouth while enjoying the sweet taste for a longer period, representing your feelings for each other! Sweet and meant to last!
Having said all this, these deeper meanings are actually quite relative - and it’s actually pretty common for Japanese people to be totally unaware of them themselves - so don’t get too bummed out if your crush gives you cookies! They probably mean well.
Now, why don’t you try to give something back to someone you like on March 14? If you happen to be in Japan, you can see numerous special corners in department stores, candy shops, etc holding an event for White Day!