Need A Relationship Boost? Try Out Japan’s Romantic March 14 Holiday

View this post on Instagram

Japanese traditional sugar "Wasanbon"🙋🏻#whiteday

A post shared by Shota Tsukamoto (@matthewthehedgehog) on

Valentine’s Day is a hard one to nail on the head. You’re either a champion — with romantic scavenger hunts that lead to whip cream fantasies — or you drop the ball. Maybe last month you installed a chocolate fondu fountain in the bedroom, but forgot all about your partner’s cacao allergy. Or you made a romantic dinner that ended with a very real fire instead of flames of passion.

White Day — as celebrated in Japan, Taiwan, China, and South Korea — is your chance at a redo. On February 14, women in these countries take the initiative and buy (or, more traditionally, make) their partners some chocolate.

Then the aforementioned partners have exactly one month to conceive of their reciprocal gifts before White Day on March 14. The ladies who gave them honmei-choco (chocolate of love) or giri-choco (courtesy chocolate) will typically receive white marshmallows, rice candies, white roses, or white lingerie in return. Note: the holiday goes by the rule of sanbai gaeshi (triple the return) — so it’s not for slackers.

Now clearly this holiday — which was absolutely just made up by chocolate marketing execs in the 1980s — needs to be remixed to be culturally relevant. It’s still pretty damn tangled up in the patriarchy and seems to exclude same-sex couples. But if you botched things a month ago, take this chance to recover. Make it your own. Put a twist on it. Even marketing-driven holidays can be romantic if you play your cards right!