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The day in which we celebrate love, and also wine here, in Bulgaria, already passed!

The fragrant bouquet is put in a vase on a prominent place and the chocolate temptations are already eaten. Because this is how “St. Valentine’s Day” is being celebrated in the West – men feverishly buy flowers and candy, and sometimes a more lasting present! Hearts lurk around every corner and the restaurants are filled to the brim with couples in love.

In the East, and more specifically in Japan (also South Korea), 14th of February is celebrated in a different and unique way.

Attention! The girls are the ones who are expected to ‘do the work’ on “St. Valentine’s Day”. To their beloved, they give honmei chocolate (本命チョコ; ”chocolate for the beloved”). It is considered that it’s best to be homemade in order to show their love in the most sincere way possible. Of course, if the maiden is not good at confectionary, and cooking as a whole, it is best not to poison her beloved or by chance to burn her kitchen down. In these cases, a high quality, therefore more expensive than normal, chocolate could be bought.

However, honmei is not the only sweet temptation that is given on “St. Valentine’s Day”. There is a second type of chocolate – giri chocolate (義理チョコ ; “mandatory chocolate”). It is more common and is given to bosses, close friends, colleagues and male acquaintances. This type of chocolate is given as a token of respect – no romantic thrill is being shown with it.

How did you spend your “St. Valentine’s Day”? Would you try the Japanese way of celebrating?

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