St. Valentine’s Day
(February 14th)

●バレンタインデー Saint Valentine’s Day; St. Valentine’s Day
●ホワイトデー White Day(日本にしかない)
●愛情 affection; love; devotion
●感謝 appreciation; gratitude; thanks
●義理 obligation
●恋人 lover; boyfriend; girlfriend
●同僚 coworker; fellow worker;(専門職、公職の)colleague
●上司 (直属の)boss; superior
●贈り物 gift; present
●チョコレート chocolate
●宝石 (総合的、貴金属のアクセサリー)jewelry;(個々の宝石)jewel
●花束 bouquet
●デート(する) date

There are various theories about the origin of St. Valentine’s Day, and the most popular belief is about St. Valentius, who truly existed around the 3rd century.

This priest had secret wedding ceremonies for soldiers who wanted to get married against the ban on marriage from the Roman Emperor.

When the Roman Emperor discovered what he was doing, St. Valentius was martyred on February 14th.

In most western countries, St. Valentine’s Day is a time when couples exchange cards and gifts, showing their affection for one another.

Depending on the seriousness of the relationship, the type of gift given varies.

Gifts vary from simple items such as chocolates and candies, to expensive items such as jewelry.

Usually, it’s considered a day when women receive gifts.

Although St. Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday, at night parties or dinner dates are common.

Strictly speaking, St. Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love.

Now, however, St. Valentine’s Day is so popular that it isn’t just restricted to lovers.

Anyone can send a card, flowers, or candies, to those whom they cherish.

In Japan February 14th is celebrated a little differently than in most western countries.

While the Japanese are not known for being openly romantic, it is still a day for lovers.

It’s also a day for showing friendship or good will.

Today, the latter respect is perhaps the more popular one.

In Japan, girls do not openly show their affection for a boy.

However, once a year, on St. Valentine’s Day, it is a good chance for girls to express their feelings.

The custom is for girls to give gifts, such as chocolate, wine, or a handmade sweater, and for boys to receive them.

Today gifts are given not only to boyfriends and husbands, but also to male co-workers, friends, and family.

In such cases, the customary gift is chocolate, which is called Giri-choko (obligation chocolate) or Tomo-choko (friend chocolate).

Apart from Giri-choko, girls present Hommei-choko (real love chocolate) to those whom they truly love.

In Japan, on St. Valentine’s Day, it is not customary for boys to give gifts, as it is in most countries.

Their turn comes one month later, on March 14th; this day is called White Day.

As with St. Valentine’s Day, boys often give gifts, which range from simple sweets to flowers or jewelry, to show their appreciation for the gift they received in February.

It is believed that the St. Valentine’s Day custom was introduced to Japan about 40 years ago by a chocolate manufacturer in Kobe, in order to increase his business.

A long-established confectionery company in Fukuoka proposed that in return, men should present marshmallows to women on March 14th, and so began White Day.

(Please see “My St. Valentine’s Day Experience” for further information.)

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