white valentine’s day

Today is White Valentine’s Day! Uh … what? Since coming to China, I’ve discovered a whole host of new holidays, and my holiday calendar is positively chock full with all the US, Jewish, Christian, Chinese, and nonsense holidays (like Pi Day, which is also today!). Last Saturday was Women’s Day, which I had written off as yet another crazy Chinese holiday, but turns out it’s International Women’s Day. Er … apparently the United States didn’t get that ‘international’ memo.

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White Valentine’s Day (otherwise known as White Day) is yet another manufactured holiday to push sales, but it’s pretty localized around  Japan … and for good reason. It’s celebrated on March 14th, one month after Valentine’s Day, as a reverse Valentine’s Day. And there’s the rub. In the West, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with boys giving girls chocolate. In Japan, where White Day originated, girls give boys chocolate on Valentine’s Day and the reverse occurs on White Day, making their White Day the equivalent of everyone else’s Valentine’s Day. Confusing, right?

So what does that mean for China? Well here, where there’s always a random holiday around the corner and other cultures’ holidays are gleefully appropriated (for marketing purposes, of course), it looks like the guys are supposed to shill out for both Valentine’s Day and White Valentine’s Day. Huh. That sucks. But it hasn’t really taken ahold, so there’s no pressure on the gents. Even Valentine’s Day isn’t that big of a deal, which was a letdown … I miss those day after Valentine’s Day deals on chocolate!

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