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What is White Day?
Blog / International / What is White Day?

What is White Day?

White Day, an intriguing counterpart to Valentine's Day, is a celebration woven into the fabric of several East Asian cultures.

Originating in Japan and observed on the 14th of March, exactly one month after Valentine's Day, White Day offers a unique twist on the traditional expressions of love and affection.

Join us as we unravel the customs, the history, and the significance of this special day, providing a glimpse into a celebration that beautifully complements the universal language of love and affection.

What is White Day?

White Day, celebrated on March 14th, is a unique holiday observed primarily in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other East Asian regions.

It serves as a complement and response to Valentine's Day, held a month earlier on February 14th.

The distinct cultural practices surrounding White Day set it apart and give it its own identity within the tapestry of romantic celebrations.

The origins of White Day trace back to Japan in the late 1970s.

The confectionery industry initially conceived it as an answer to Valentine's Day, during which women traditionally give chocolates to men.

White Day turns the tables, offering men the opportunity to reciprocate the gesture made by women a month earlier.

The name "White Day" itself is believed to have been derived from giving white-themed gifts.

These gifts are often sweet treats, like white chocolate, marshmallows, and other confectionery items, but can also include non-edible items like jewellery, lingerie, or other tokens of affection.

The types of gifts given on White Day often carry particular significance.

The 'sanbai gaeshi' concept, which translates to 'triple the return', is popular in Japan.

It suggests that a man's gift on White Day should be two to three times the value of what he received on Valentine's Day, symbolising his affection and gratitude.

White Day has evolved and gained its unique charm and significance in recent years.

While it retains its commercial roots, it has become a day for expressing gratitude and love in romantic relationships and among friends and colleagues.

This evolution reflects a broader understanding of love and appreciation, extending beyond romantic gestures to encompass a more comprehensive range of relationships.

White Day is a cultural expression of affection and reciprocity, offering a unique twist on traditional romantic customs and enriching the celebration of love and relationships in East Asian societies.

White Gifts

When is White Day in the UK?

White Day is celebrated on March 14th, one month after Valentine's Day.

Originating in Japan, it has become popular in other East Asian countries.

On White Day, it is customary for those who received gifts on Valentine's Day to return the favour, often with white-themed presents such as white chocolate, marshmallows, or other confections.

Related Post: Gianduja Chocolate

What is the History of White Day?

White Day they originated in Japan in the late 1970s.

It was first introduced in 1978 by a confectionery company, Ishimura Manseido, in Fukuoka.

The company's marketing campaign encouraged men to return the favour to women who had given them chocolates on Valentine's Day, with the tagline "Answer Love on White Day".

This idea was based on the Japanese cultural practice of reciprocation, known as "obaeru".

The choice of the colour white was significant.

In Japanese culture, White is often associated with purity and is seen as a symbol of pure, sweet love.

Initially, the concept involved men gifting white chocolate to women, but it soon expanded to include other gifts like jewellery, lingerie, and marshmallows.

The idea quickly gained popularity and spread throughout Japan. By the 1980s, it had become a widely recognized event, cementing the 14th of March as a companion to Valentine's Day.

On Valentine's Day in Japan, it is traditional for women to give men chocolates, including romantic interests and platonic colleagues or friends.

White Day serves as an opportunity for men to return the gesture.

Over the years, White Day has spread beyond Japan to other East Asian countries like South Korea and Taiwan.

Each country has developed its unique ways of celebrating the day, although the common thread remains the exchange of gifts between loved ones as a sign of affection and gratitude.

White Flowers

How to Celebrate White Day in the UK

Celebrating White Day in the UK, where it's not a traditional holiday, can be a delightful way to add a unique twist to your March festivities.

Here's how you can celebrate it:

  • Understand the Tradition: White Day is a day to reciprocate the affection shown on Valentine's Day. Traditionally, if you received a gift on Valentine's Day, White Day is your opportunity to return the favour.

  • Choose Appropriate Gifts: The theme is usually white. Think of gifting white chocolate, white flowers, or any other gift that has a white element. However, you're not limited to this and can choose any thoughtful gift.

  • Plan a Special Date or Activity: This could be a good time for a romantic or memorable activity you enjoy. Since it's not a widely recognized holiday in the UK, it can be a more intimate and personal celebration.

  • Surprise Your Partner: It can be a pleasant surprise if your partner is unaware of White Day. It's an excellent way to show appreciation and love, especially if they don't expect anything after Valentine's Day.

  • Incorporate Some Japanese Tradition: Since White Day originated in Japan, you might consider adding a Japanese element to your celebration, like a Japanese meal or watching a Japanese film together.

  • Spread the Word: Share the concept with friends and family. It can be fun to start a new tradition within your social circle.

  • Respectful Acknowledgment: If you're celebrating a holiday from another culture, it's essential to do so respectfully and with an understanding of its origins and significance.

Remember, the essence of White Day is to show appreciation and care.

It's less about the scale of the celebration and more about the thoughtfulness behind it.

Where Can You Buy Tasty Chocolate?

Whitakers Chocolates, renowned for our long history in crafting delicious and affordable chocolates, offers a range of options suitable for everyone, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices.

Our top-selling products, such as indulgent Coffee Creams, Neapolitans, Chocolate Wafer Thins, Stem Ginger and Luxury Chocolate Truffles, are the perfect accompaniments to enhance your mocha coffee experience.

Some Notes From an Expert Chocolatier

As an expert chocolatier, I find the concept of White Day particularly intriguing and see great potential for its popularity in the UK.

The tradition of reciprocating Valentine's Day gifts one month later with a white-themed present offers a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the subtle nuances of white chocolate, which is often overshadowed by its darker counterparts.

White chocolate can be a canvas for various taste experiences with its creamy texture and delicate flavours.

From infusing it with exotic fruits and spices to pairing it with less traditional ingredients, White Day could become an occasion to elevate the appreciation of white chocolate in the UK's confectionery scene.

Also, White Day aligns well with the British culture of polite reciprocity and thoughtful gift-giving.

Final Notes On White Day

White Day presents a charming and thoughtful extension to the romantic celebrations of Valentine's Day. Originating in Japan, it encapsulates the spirit of reciprocity and appreciation, offering a unique opportunity to return the affection received a month earlier.

While it's not traditionally celebrated in the UK, incorporating White Day could add an exciting dimension to our cultural practices of gift-giving and expressions of love.

For confectioners and chocolatiers, especially, it opens up a realm of creativity and exploration, particularly with the underappreciated white chocolate.

As this tradition slowly garners attention outside its country of origin, it has the potential to become a delightful addition to the annual celebrations, enhancing relationships and enriching cultural exchanges.

White Day, with its simple yet profound premise of gratitude and mutual affection, could find a special place in the hearts of many worldwide, including the UK.