Unlike other countries, where the date is celebrated on June 12, in Japan Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. The date is called バレンタインデー (Valentine’s Day) when women give gifts to men, expressing their love and affection. This tradition was brought to Japan from the United States in 1936 by chocolate companies who wanted to introduce the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
At first, the date led lovers to express their feelings by presenting their loved ones, but over time, it became agreed that only women present chocolates.
At that time, the chocolate industry market concentrates almost half of annual sales. This is because it is no longer a day celebrated only between lovers, but also friends, family and co-workers, gaining different characteristics from other countries.
While other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day only once a year, in Japan it is celebrated twice. On the 14th of February, it’s only the women who give the men chocolates and on the 14th of March, it’s the turn of the men to return the chocolate on White Day, a celebration invented exclusively in Japan by the chocolate manufacturer.
This chocolate delivery culture has become so strong that there are different types of chocolates for different people.
They are classified into 5 types:
- 義理 チョコ (Giri choco): It’s the chocolate we give to people we have a social obligation to, bosses, clients and male co-workers. The term “Giri” means “obligation”, therefore these types of chocolates do not have any romantic associations.
- 本命 チョコ (Honmei choco) That’s the chocolate for true love. Women hand this chocolate over to the man they are in love with. If you are not dating, the gift serves as a declaration.
- 友チョコ (Tomo choco): This is the chocolate given to close friends as a way of showing affection and friendship.
- ファミリーチョコ (Family Choco): They are the ones we buy to give to family members such as husbands, fathers, grandparents, children, uncles, cousins, brothers, that is, any male person with whom we have a family connection.
- 逆チョコ (Gyaku choco): Although it is a recent custom, Gyaku choco means exchanging chocolates between men and women on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day History:
Valentine’s Day, in some countries called Valentine’s Day is a special and commemorative date in which the loving union between couples and boyfriends is celebrated, in some places it is the day to show affection between friends. It is common to exchange cards and gifts with a heart symbol, such as traditional boxes of chocolates.
In Japan, America, Portugal, Angola and many other countries, it is celebrated on February 14th. In other countries, the date is celebrated on June 12, the eve of Saint Anthony of Lisbon, known for the fame of “Santo Matchmaker”.
On February 14th, when we share chocolates, special dinners or cards with our loved ones, we do so in the name of Saint Valentine.
But who was this saint of romance?
Valentine’s Day is named after a famous Saint Valentine, a legend claims that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II forbade marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and secretly arranged marriages. When Claudius found out, Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death.
There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was led away to be killed on February 14, he sent a love letter signed “Your Valentine” from her boyfriend. An expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the legends of the Valentine is murky, all the stories emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and most importantly, romantic figure.