What are the differences between Japanese and foreign Valentine's Day cultures? And the origins of Valentine's Day!

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Soon after the New Year, the New Year's mood in the city changes, and stylish chocolates begin to appear on store shelves everywhere, creating an instant Valentine's Day mood.

When you think of the last event of winter, you probably think of Valentine's Day.
Various manufacturers sell chocolates that are particular about both taste and appearance, and they all look so delicious that it is hard to keep your eyes from wandering.

Although Valentine's Day in Japan has the image of being an event created by the marketing strategies of candy shops, Valentine's Day itself is actually an event with a long history handed down from generation to generation, with different cultures in different countries.

In this article, we will introduce such differences in Valentine's Day culture between Japan and other countries, as well as the origin and origin of Valentine's Day. At the end of the article, we have prepared a quiz related to Valentine's Day, so please try your hand at it.


What is Valentine's Day?


Valentine's Day is an event that has become established around the world as "Lovers' Day" on February 14.
Let's look at the origins and origin of this day and why it became established as a day for lovers.

Origin of Valentine's Day

The origins of Valentine's Day date back to 3rd century Rome. At that time, the Roman emperor forbade young soldiers from marrying, on the grounds that morale would suffer if some soldiers left their loved ones at home.

It was Valentine (*Uarentinus in Latin), a Christian priest, who opposed the policy and secretly conducted the weddings of young soldiers in such circumstances.

Eventually, the rumor reached the ears of the emperor, who angrily ordered Valentine to never disobey the law again. However, Valentine disobeyed the order by preaching the preciousness of love, and was executed on February 14 of the same year.

Later, people began to honor Valentine as "St. Valentine" in honor of the priest's courageous action.
And they began to call February 14, the day of Valentine's execution, "St. Valentine's Day" and offer prayers.

Origin of the event that became a lovers' event

Once an event to mourn the death of a saint, Valentine's Day became "Lovers' Day" as we know it today only after the 14th century.
In honor of Valentine's Day, which was dedicated to love, February 14 was a day to express love.

According to one theory, February 14 on the lunar calendar is the beginning of spring, the season for birds to choose mating partners. It is said that the day became a day for lovers because it is an appropriate day to confess one's love.

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Why do we give chocolate? What is the origin of the gift of chocolate in Japan?


Valentine's Day in Japan is a well-established event in which women give chocolates to the men they love. These days, people sometimes exchange chocolates among friends or enjoy a reverse Valentine's Day by giving chocolates from men to women.

The custom of giving chocolate on Valentine's Day is a culture that originally originated in England. It is said to have started when Cadbury, a long-established confectionery company in England, introduced a heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1868.

From there, here are two things that are said to be the origin of why chocolate is given in Japan.

Origin (1) Morozov Co.

According to one theory, the culture of giving chocolate on Valentine's Day began in Japan in 1932, when the famous Kobe-based confectionery brand Morozoff Co.
This was inspired by the founder of Morozoff, who learned of the custom of "giving gifts to loved ones on February 14 in Europe and America," and wanted to spread this wonderful culture in Japan.

Reference] First Valentine's Day Chocolate Advertisement in Japan: Even Earlier, in 1935. |Morozoff Co.icon

Origin (2) Merry Chocolate Kamppany Co.

In 1958, Merry Chocolate Kamppany Co., Ltd. held Japan's first Valentine's Day Fair, and the following year it introduced heart-shaped chocolates that could be personalized with the name of the giver and the recipient.
Chocolates with these names in them attracted attention, and under the catchphrase "a day when women can confess their love to men once a year" by Merry, the custom of giving chocolates from women to men on Valentine's Day gradually took root.

Reference] Merry's Valentine History|Merry Chocolate Company, Ltd.icon

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Valentine's Day Culture Abroad


In Japan, it is customary for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day, but what is the Valentine's Day culture like in other countries?
Next, we will introduce the situation of Valentine's Day in other countries.

United States

Valentine's Day in the U.S. has become a day for couples to express their appreciation for each other and for dating, as well as a day to openly "show love" to anyone, regardless of age or gender.

In the U.S., contrary to Japan, it is common for men to send message cards, bouquets of flowers, and gifts to women. In some cases, women prepare gifts for men in return.

Also, at school, good friends exchange sweets with each other and give gifts to teachers who have taken care of them.


In Finland, February 14 has been officially marked on the calendar since 1996 as "Friend's Day. This day of friends is a relatively new custom and does not have much of a tradition.
However, it has become a very popular event in Finland as a day for confirming friendships and showing appreciation for loved ones.

Sweets are sometimes given as in the case of Valentine's Day, but instead of one-way giving, as in Japan, it is common for people to give each other gifts and eat sweets together.

Also, while roses are often given on Valentine's Day in other countries, Finns give tulips on Friend's Day.


On Valentine's Day in Korea, people give chocolates to the person they love, just as in Japanese culture.
Also, while White Day on March 14 is the same as in Japan, Korea has a day called "Black Day" on April 14.

Black Day is an informal event in Korea that has taken root as a way for those who were not involved in Valentine's Day and White Day to share their feelings of sadness.
Black Day is spent wearing black clothes, eating jajangmyeon, a noodle dish made with black miso, and drinking black coffee.

People who do not have lovers get together on Black Day, and this is a good opportunity for them to meet each other and sometimes couples are born.

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Valentine's Day Miscellaneous Quiz

Here we have prepared a quiz on the state of Valentine's Day around the world.
There will be a total of 4 quizzes. Please try to answer all the questions correctly.

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In this issue, we introduced the origins of Valentine's Day, the origin of giving chocolate on Valentine's Day, and Valentine's Day culture in other countries.

Valentine's Day is very familiar in Japan, but I was surprised to learn that it was originally an event to mourn the death of a saint!
Each country has its own unique culture and way of perceiving Valentine's Day. This year, you may enjoy spending a different Valentine's Day by taking a look at cultures in other countries.

In creating the Valentine's Day quiz, we used the "QuizGeneratorcan create original quizzes without registration and free of charge, and share them on social networking sites and websites.
I hope you all enjoy making your own original quizzes!

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