The answer to Valentine’s Day is here! In Japan, women give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Honmei chocolates are generally handmade and given to partners or those they like, whilst giri ‘obligation’ chocolates are ready made chocolates given to male coworkers. After Valentine’s Day is done, women hang up their wallets and wait for their turn to roll around! The 14th of March, White Day, is when men reciprocate, with some even being obligated to respond ‘thrice’! 😱
Just like Valentine’s Day, White Day was started by savvy Japanese manufacturers in the 1980s who saw it as an opportunity to profit once again by creating an extension of Valentine’s Day.
Originally, men were encouraged to buy marshmallows as a gift (the white color was meant to demonstrate pure young love, hence ‘White Day’), but obviously this didn’t catch on… who wants to get a few marshmallows in return for delicious chocolate! These days, many other sweets like cookies can be given instead of the dreaded marshmallows. 😉
Even better (or worse if you are a man), if they receive romantic honmei chocolates from their significant others, men are expected to give something worth two or three times the value! So for those pleasantly surprised upon receiving expensive and luxurious chocolates on Valentine’s Day… watch out! 😈
However, rest assured that your bank account won’t be completely emptied; for your colleague who gave you giri obligation chocolate, you can just give her back something of equal value. But unless you want to make enemies, don’t give a marshmallow; this is apparently a secret sign that you have no interest in the person whatsoever, even as a friend or coworker! 😅
And of course, for those who skipped Valentine’s Day, or participated in Jibun Choco (buying chocolates for yourself), White Day is a perfect excuse to get more chocolate! Don’t forget to spoil yourself with some delicious Matcha sweets ~