White Day is celebrated on 14th March, exactly a month post-Valentine's Day. In 2023, White Day will be observed on the second Tuesday of March.
It is considered a day similar to Valentine's Day. It is celebrated chiefly in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. White Day is kind of a 'reply day' to the love, chocolates, and presents one receives on Valentine's Day.
14th March is called White Day as the Japanese connect white with innocent teen love, and white symbolizes purity, just like love and relationships.
White Day History
The White Day dramatically came into place in 1978. In 1977, a woman's magazine covered an interview of a woman complaining that they did not get anything in return after gifting men on Valentine's Day. Of course, candy, handkerchiefs, or even marshmallows can be given as presents.
This magazine piece caught the attention of Zengo Ishimura, owner of a small confectionary shop called Ishimura Manseido. Zengo Ishimura thought that if a woman can get happy on receiving marshmallows as a return gift from men, then why not keep a special day for men to express their love in return? So, in his company meeting, he asked his female employees to choose a day when women would be treated with gifts and chocolates.14th March was finalized just a month after Valentine's Day.
Zengo made a special kind of sweet with marshmallow paste and stuffed chocolate inside to memorialize this day. Thus in 1978, the very first "White Day" under the name of "Marshmallow Day" was celebrated with the cooperation of a local department store.
In 1980, the National Confectionary Industry Association suggested changes to the name. It was then called the "White Day", which had a more open-ended meaning. It also referenced the marshmallows that initially gave birth to this idea. A tradition was thus born in the 1980s and spread all over Japan. They started marketing white chocolates and marshmallows on this day. South Korea and Taiwan also adopted this custom and added more gifts besides marshmallows and white chocolates.
White Day Tradition and Celebration
Men who have received 'chocolate of love' and 'courtesy chocolate' on V-day return the favor on White Day. Traditionally, men had to give three times the gifts and chocolates they have received. They express their love or accept the proposal by returning gifts.
The exchange of gifts is popular on this day among many people irrespective of whether they are friends, romantic partners, and co-workers. Previously, people used to give food like marshmallows, white chocolate, candy, and cookies. White accessories such as bags, lotions, jewelry, and lingerie were also gifted. Nowadays, the tradition of giving white gifts is no longer prevalent. One can gift anything as per their wishes.