NGPriest: Valentine’s Day

Ξ February 14th, 2008 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Author: NGPriest |

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14. In North America, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

In Asia

Thanks to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine’s Day has emerged in China, Japan and Korea as a day on which women, and less commonly men, give chocolate or flowers. It has become an obligation for many women to give chocolates to all male co-workers. In Japan this is known as giri-choko (義理チョコ), from the words giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”). This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命チョコ); chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (友チョコ); from tomo meaning “friend”. In China, the common situation is that the man gives chocolate, flowers or both to the woman that he loved. In chinese, Valentine’s Day called 情人节 (hanyu pinyin: qing ren jie).

By a further marketing effort using different means from billboards to online marketing using companies as WordTree online, a reciprocal day called White Day has emerged. On March 14, men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Originally, the return gift was supposed to be white chocolate or marshmallows; hence “White Day”. However, lingerie and jewelry have become common gifts.

In South Korea, there is also Pepero Day, celebrated on November 11, when young couples give each other romantic gifts, in particular a long, chocolate cookie named Pepero, thus Pepero Day. The date ’11/11′ is intended to resemble the long shape of the cookie. There is an additional day for single people, Black Day, celebrated on April 14.

In Chinese culture, there is a counterpart to Valentine’s Day, called “The Night of Sevens” (七夕). According to the legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the milky way (river) but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. 七夕 is also remembered in Korea, where its association with romance has long faded.

In Japan, a slightly different version of 七夕 (called Tanabata, which is said to mean 棚機 a weaver for a god) is celebrated , on July 7th but on the solar calendar. However, it is never regarded that the celebration is even remotely related with the St. Valentine’s Day or lovers giving gifts to each other.

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