Asian Valentine’s Day: What we can and shouldn’t learn from Asia

tokens of love
Why Valentine’s Day is somehow more exciting in Asia than it is here

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Valentine’s Day is only for lovers and couples? Not everywhere in the world – and sometimes it’s not just one day, but two or more. Why Valentine’s Day is kinda cooler in some parts of Asia.

First of all, I have to get one thing straight: I don’t think much of Valentine’s Day in general and it has never occurred to me to buy anything expensive or wish the other way around. What I find much nicer is doing something with the person or people who are important to you – or maybe surprising them with homemade treats, as is often the case in Japan and Korea.

Japan and Korea: why one day when there can be several?

In Japan and Korea there are a day dedicated to women’s gifts to men – and one when it’s the other way around. In addition, it is often common that you don’t just give something to the one you love. Good friends or father and mother (depending on the day) are also often given presents. As with us, Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th, on March 14th it’s the men’s turn.

In Japan, it is already a tradition for many schoolgirls to prepare homemade chocolate or pralines the day before (or even several days before). Some meet in small groups, where less talented friends benefit from the more talented in the group. So they not only create homemade matcha chocolate pralines or other delicacies, loved ones also have something to feast on the next day – and friends have a nice time together. Anyone who has less baking talent or less time in adulthood often uses store-bought chocolate, as we do here.

Korea puts the icing on the cake

In South Korea, there is not only Valentine’s Day and White Day (March 14). There are a total of 12 days that couples can theoretically use to celebrate their love – on the 14th of every month. More gifts are almost always involved and if every couple could pull this off there would probably be a lot of poor people in love in the country. Nevertheless, I find the idea exciting and it is a good opportunity to treat yourself to small things or to do something together with your partner. Among other things, there is Silver Day, when silver jewelry with engraving is often given away, Rose Day, Photo/ Music Day – or even Kiss Day. The latter is an exception to the disliked kissing in public in South Korea.

April 14, “Black Day”, is an exception. On this day it’s the singles turn. Those who haven’t received chocolate before are meeting up with friends to eat black sauce noodles – but only in theory. Because Black Day has not really caught on compared to couple customs. However, it should be clear to everyone: every single person that not only Valentine’s Day, but also every other day offers a wonderful opportunity to go out to eat with loved ones. Maybe instead of Valentine’s Day we’ll just introduce this day to our country. At least that’s casual and sociable at the same time.

Nice idea, but also a lot of pressure

It doesn’t really matter what’s celebrated. If we have the feeling that we have to give something and that a 0-8-15 voucher or purchased chocolate represents our own failure, Valentine’s Day, birthdays or other events are no longer fun. The traditions in Asia therefore also have their downsides. Anyone who feels obligated to make chocolate for colleagues, friends and the person they love is quickly stressed out weeks beforehand – and may want to outdo themselves in the coming year. And men often don’t know whether the chocolate offered is “friendship chocolate” or “token of love”…

The most important thing should be that we ourselves feel like celebrating the day. It’s about the positive and not about creating additional stress privately. So if you don’t feel like creating something yourself or giving anything at all, you should clarify this with your partner beforehand and stick with it. Maybe a cozy evening for two, a nice walk or a meal together is enough. And for all the singles who feel a little pang that day: treat yourself to something good, grab those you can count on in life or use the time to get in touch with your loved ones and get in touch with them Thank you – just for being there. It doesn’t always have to be excessive, expensive or stressful. After all, it’s actually about love, whether between friends, in the family or towards your partner – no matter in which country.

Sources used:,, YouTube/Ask Japanese


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