Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you get at least one taste of delicious chocolate today! Don't these chocolate-dipped strawberries make your mouth water?

For those of you uninitiated in the Japanese culture of Valentine's Day, this is the day that WOMEN give chocolates to men! Somehow, this Western tradition got, um, reinterpreted.

The custom did a backwards somersault. Men don't give chocolates until a month later, on March 14, called White Day. This is apparently the day when they reciprocate and give chocolates to the woman or women who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day. In my twisted mind, I can't help wondering if the men just recycle their Valentine's Day chocolates. Japanese men, I hear, aren't known for being especially romantic, or even for remembering their wife's birthday, or their wedding anniversary.

According to Wikipedia, White Day started in 1965 when a marshmallow manufacturer thought men should reciprocate and give candy to women. It was originally called Marshmallow Day. You can probably understand why something called Marshmallow Day wasn't especially catchy.

So, in 1980 a chocolate maker decided that it would be a great marketing ploy to create White Day and make white chocolates for women. Since most women don't like white chocolate here (too sweet), the chocolate makers added dark chocolates to their holiday selections. It's still called White Day, but it's OK to give white or dark chocolates.

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