Valentine’s Day is a special day for me as it coincides with my anniversary. Today, my husband and I are celebrating fourteen years together.
Even before I had a valentine, however, I enjoyed the generous spirit and love surrounding this day. Considering the importance of gift giving in Japan’s culture, it’s not surprising that Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated in Japan, as well as here in the states.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is observed a bit differently. Traditionally, schoolgirls bring homemade or hand-selected chocolates to confess their love for boys. They approach the object of their affection shyly, chocolate in hand. Then, they wait. A month later, on a holiday called White Day, the chosen boys have the opportunity to reciprocate with a gift in kind. As it goes, either love blossoms or a heart is broken.
My favorite part of Valentine’s Day, though, is that love extends beyond the romantic. In Japan, gifts are given to coworkers in gratitude and respect. Special chocolates are presented to family members and close friends. An all-encompassing expression of affection and appreciation.
I love that this day is celebrated, in all its forms, in countries as far apart as Japan as well as here in the West. It proves that love is truly universal. With this in mind, I wanted to take this opportunity to spread my love to all of you—and I hope you will do the same for those who have touched your life.
Happy Valentine’s Day.