White Day and Black Day: The Other Sides Of Sei Baruntain
by Michelle “Ms. Geek” Klein-Hass
Today is White Day, March 14, the day that Japanese women (and women from other parts of Asia) get gifts of chocolate (originally marshmallows, then white chocolate, hence the White Day name) and other cool stuff from their significant other. This is a reciprocal gift based on gifts given a month before on Sei Baruntain, or Valentine’s Day.
If a gentleman is lucky enough to get Honmei-Choco (true feelings chocolate) from their girlfriend, he is then obligated to gift her with a gift of at least three times more in value of what his girlfriend gave. And the emphasis is on at least for a reason. She’s going to be expecting — and judging — what you give her to be beyond the mere minimum.
White Day has become a day for proposals. Certainly an engagement ring fulfills that expectation and then some.
White Day gifts are often experiential in nature…fancy meals, romantic travel.
And don’t think you are off the hook, guys, if you are single and just got some giri-choco from your female office worker colleagues. You are expected to give your own giri-choco to the women in your office who did likewise the month before. So if you work in the parts of Asia where the Valentines/White Day reciprocal holidays are a tradition, you had better keep some candy on hand in your desk. White chocolate, of course, has been traditional for this for a while, so you can’t go wrong with good quality white chocolate bars, particularly if they have special “White Day” wrappers.
Of course, if you are single, unhappy, and you didn’t even get girl-choco, the South Koreans have an answer: Black Day. On April 14th, singles all over South Korea get together to drown their sorrows in jjajang myeon (black bean noodles) and of course, strong drink, like the national adult beverage, soju. Black clothes are obligatory, and if you are fond of Goth fashion it’s a good day to show off your style.
One of the benefits of Black Day is that it tends to be a day when singles can find each other. Matchmaking services and dating sites in Korea often do special things on April 14th.
Another name for the day is “Forever Alone Day,” after the meme.