In Japan, a tradition has become established for a little less than half a century namely White Day. It is celebrated one calendar month after Valentine’s Day on March 14
On White Day, men give presents to women, and not the other way round. Men are supposed to be returning the favours from Valentine’s Day when women give gifts to men. One could actually consider White Day as the second round, the occasion for those who were offered something on Valentine’s to return the gesture. It is said that a Japanese confectionary company incorporated Valentine’s Day in Japan in 1958. White Day is believed to have been introduced by a marshmallow manufacturing company in the 1960’s. The day name comes from the colour of white marshmallows, but today, other kinds of more traditional presents such as jewellery, flowers have become popular over the years.
According to a recent survey, White Day is still less popular than St Valentine’s Day, with 67% of the female survey participants indicated that they celebrate Valentine’s Day compared with only 45% of the men who celebrate White Day. The two events are most popular among youngsters below 20 of whom 75% celebrate Valentine’s Day and 56% celebrate White Day. Valentine’s Day is also more popular among single people than married couples, however White Day is clearly more popular among married people (51%) than singles (40%). In fact among married couples White Day (51.3%) is almost as popular as Valentine’s Day (53.9%).
33% of the men celebrating White Day give jewellery. Only 11% give flowers. 55% make presents other than jewellery, sweets or flowers. Almost half of the men give presents to two to three women and 29% to just one. The rest (19%) gives presents to more than three women. Two thirds of the men celebrating White Day give presents to their girlfriends or wives. Less than one out of four gives presents to co-workers and/or friends. Only one out of ten make presents to relatives.
The White Day tradition is slowly making its way into Europeans’ minds.