I like to celebrate holidays that have been around for centuries—holidays that have roots in deep traditions or that are related to the seasonal shifts in the natural world. But every once in a while, I’m enchanted by a fairly new holiday. Like White Day, a Japanese holiday which falls on March 14.
In Japan, only women give gifts (usually chocolate) to the men in their lives on Valentine’s Day. On White Day, the men reciprocate with gifts to the women. It seems the idea of returning the favor was first proposed in 1977 by a marshmallow manufacturer, but was quickly embraced and promoted by confectioners. Typical gifts include marshmallows, white chocolate, white lingerie and jewelry, as well as dark chocolate.
Even with the commercial emphasis, I find this holiday charming. I like the parallel between the two romantic holidays—one for women, one for men—and the contrast of dark and light.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”