SMC students reflect on upcoming Asian Valentine's Day equivalent White Day
On March 14, "We have an another important day for men and boys which is called White Day," said Kana Ueda, a Santa Monica College student from Japan.
On Valentine's Day In America, men give gifts to women to show their love and appreciation. However, in Japan people do the opposite thing; on that day women usually give chocolate as a gift to the men.
Men who got chocolates on Valentine's Day are then supposed to give something back to women on White Day.
"My Asian friends from South Korea, Taiwan, and some part of China seem to celebrate White Day like Japanese do," Ueda said.
To Honami Ochi, another SMC student from Japan, it's important to celebrate the Japanese traditions even though she moved to another country. “I make chocolate every year for Valentine’s Day even though I am in America,” she said.
According to Ochi, Japanese girls also tend to exchange chocolate between their female friends as friendship gift. She does not expect her friend to give anything back on White Day, however, If her friend were from Japan, she would expect a gift in return. “If I don’t get anything back from my female friends from Japan, I would be disappointed,” she said.
According to Ochi different gifts have different meanings. Some people say that if girls receive candy from boys, that means “I like you too.” Receiving marshmallow means “I don’t like you,” and cookies says “I like you as a friend.”
Some Asian couples living in America still follow the tradition of this "Asian Valentine’s Day". Kana Ueda baked cookies for her boyfriend from South Korea on Valentine’s Day but she does not expect him to return any gift on White Day.
“If my boyfriend were from Japan I would expect returning gifts because Japanese have to give something back when receiving something. It’s a kind of cultural manner in Japan,” she said. “If I don’t get anything from Japanese on the White Day even though I gave chocolate on Valentine’s Day, I assume the person is rude.”
She also points out the importance of gift values. Japanese women tend to expect returning gifts to have the same value as the gifts they gave. If a guy would give her an expensive gifts that would make her feel really bad.
Kim Taehyo, SMC student from South Korea, was disappointed when he didn’t receive any chocolate from girls when he lived in South Korea. “If a boy gets a lot of chocolate from girls on Valentine’s Day, everybody assumes that he is popular,” he said.
“If I don’t get any gifts from my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, I would not give her any either. That’s my style,” Taehyo added. Similar to Japanese culture, people in South Korea follow the rule of “give and take,” but some men spend a lot of money on their girlfriends on White Day.
Ray Liu, SMC student from Taiwan, said “I will be disappointed if I don’t get any chocolate from girls.” When he gets chocolate from a girl on Valentine’s Day he gives her chocolate too.
For many Taiwanese, White Day is not as big as Valentine’s Day because they have an event called The Star Festival. “The Star Festival is like traditional version of Valentine’s Day in Taiwan,” Liu said.
According to Chinese SMC student, Mengjia Tang, White Day is usually not as important as Valentine’s Day in China. But just like Japanese and South Korean cultures, girls in China give chocolate to guys on Valentine’s Day and if a guy receive a gift from a girl, they have to give something back. “I do care about returning gifts and if I don’t get any, I will be mad,” she said.