Black Valentine (from OCBC Teller April ’11)
Ever heard of Black Valentine’s or “Black Day”?
Before we can make sense of Black Day, let’s understand how the Japanese and Koreans celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The best-known Valentine’s Day, which falls on February 14, is meant for ladies to present gifts to men out of love. These gifts, which are usually chocolates, are divided into three categories: girl chocolate, hand-made chocolate and tomo (which means ‘friends’ in Japanese) chocolate. Girl chocolates are obligatory gifts given to male colleagues or friends. Handmade chocolates are given to a love interest or a good-looking guy. Tomo chocolates are given to female friends.
Then in the following month, March 14 is known as White Valentine’s or “White Day”. This is the day when the men who received the chocolates from the ladies return the favours. In line with the colour theme, the gifts usually come in white boxes. Men often give the ladies expensive white chocolates, cookies, candies, marshmallows and jewellery. And ‘expensive’ means three times more expensive than the gift given by the female.
Finally comes Black Valentine’s in April. Who qualifies to celebrate it? Anyone who is single or who did not receive gifts on either the original Valentine’s Day or White Day. Typically, single men and women get together to eat noodles with black bean sauce. There are different explanations for the creation of Black Day. Some feel that it is a day when men and women who are proud to be single celebrate their “singledom”. Others say it is a way of mocking the unattached. Still others think that it is an opportunity to meet their prospective or future partner so that next year, he or she won’t be celebrating Black Day anymore.
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