Valentine’s Day in Japan is all about romance and chocolate with a twist
February 14, Valentine’s Day, is considered world over a day when romance blooms and lovers whisper sweet nothings to each others’ ears. Seemingly, there is no one in the entire world exempt from the love bug.
The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint–remains shrouded in mystery. Valentine’s Day as we know it today contains bits and pieces of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions wrapped in folklore.
In Western countries, chocolate and flower shops do their briskest business of the year as men buy sweets and flowers to their sweethearts. And Japan is well established in that buying frenzy as well. Chocolates are a ¥75 billion industry here, with this lovers’ day accounting for about 16% of annual chocolate sales.
Except, to this Western tradition, Japanese have added their own twist. Whereas in western countries men buy the sweets to the target of their affection, in Japan it’s women who do the buying on Feb. 14th. Men then have to replicate the favor a month later on Mar. 14th, on so called White Day. Besides Japan, White Day is a custom observed in Korea, Taiwan and China.
The happiest people of all in this sweet action are probably the confectioners, as a thumb of rule dictates that the value of the chocolates and other gifts to the ladies should be three times the value of what the ladies spent on Feb. 14th.