09 February, 2010
‘Tis that time of year again. Valentine’s day approaches and couples every where fret over what to do. Flower? Chocolates? Jewelry? So much expectation and so little direction. Why not take some of the fretting out of the picture and be Japanese for the day, or two days as it may be? The Japanese divide our Valentine’s Day up into two holidays. One in February and the other in March.
In February, there is Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) for the girls to give the men in their life gifts. Mostly they give chocolates. There are two types of chocolate gifts. Giri-choco, or obligation chocolates, are usually inexpensive store bought chocolates given to family (brothers, fathers, etc.) or coworkers (especially the boss). The other chocolate gifts are known as Honmei-choco, litterally “Prospective winner” chocolates. These are homemade chocolates (usually by melting chocolate and pouring into molds) that are given only to the “favored fellow”. Honmei-choco are sometimes accompanied by ties or other little cutesy gifts. Also, in more recent years, some girls have been giving Tomo-choco, or friend chocolates, to their female friends. Tomo-choco are usually not overly expensive, somewhat like giri-choco except some girls home-make these chocolates.
In March, it’s the men’s turn. On March 14, the men give the women gifts. Usually they give gifts to their family and those women who gave them chocolates the month before. White Day gifts are usually more expensive. Common White Day gifts are cookies, white chocolate, white lingerie/clothes, marshmellows, and jewllery. Granted these are only common gifts, not a limit.
If you decide to add a taste of Japan to your life with these holidays, don’t think of “tradition” as a fence, but instead a guide line. GET CREATIVE! Maybe you’ll make your special man some chocolates and a card. Add some colour to them, make them fun! Maybe, if you’re a guy, instead of simple gifts, you can make a white party! Wear white, give her white chocolates or other gifts, and a card. Make it yourself! Use her favorite coloured paper, but decorate it with craft pearls and white feathers. Make it something special.
If you’re alone for this special holiday, grab your other single gal pals and have a girl day! Make chocolates together, ice cupcakes, and watch a movie together! Have an awesome time and be happy with your single selves!
Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a beautiful holiday!