Valentine’s Day has never been a significant holiday for me personally. As a kid, it was the day I had to remember to come to school wearing something red or pink, instead of our school’s green sweater and kilt uniform. I never really cared for the holiday, but I never hated it either, the way that some folks do, I suppose.
In Japan, バレンタインデー (Valentine’s Day) is a day for women to buy chocolates for the men in their lives, whether it be to express love and affection for a boyfriend or husband, or 義理チョコ (“obligatory chocolate gifts”) for male bosses or colleagues.
To illustrate, yesterday, all the men on our floor received an email saying:
Since today, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day, there are chocolates available at the table near the entrance. Please take some as you wish.
Meanwhile, only the women received the following:
A total of ¥ 11,340 was spent on chocolates.
If [each woman] could contribute ¥900, it would be much appreciated.
Although it might seem like women are getting the short end of the stick here, Japan also celebrates “White Day,” which takes place a month later on March 14th, during which it’s the ladies’ turn to receive candy and presents from men.
Seeing as neither Edu nor I are Japanese, how did we celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Well, honestly, we didn’t (although, you could say that I celebrated it the Japanese way, as I did pick up some One Piece themed chocolates for him on my way back from lunch). Moreover — perhaps ironically — Valentine’s Day has become even less important since meeting Edu a few years ago. However, there’s a very reasonable cultural explanation for this. You see, Valentine’s Day (at least the way that we celebrate it in most countries) doesn’t really exist in Brazil; because of this, Edu rarely remembers the significance of February 14th. Instead, love and romance are celebrated in his country on June 12th, Dia dos Namorados (loosely translated to “Lovers’ Day”), which I fully admit is a holiday that I also never remember.
Nevertheless, I’m a sucker for romance, and thanks to my husband, it’s something that I’m able to experience everyday.
Whether it be staying up until 3am to pick me up from work during crunch, or surprising me with flowers, or literally picking me up when I’m feeling down and awkwardly — yet gleefully — waltzing together in our living room, I’m fortunate to have a husband who is not only willing to put up with me and my cold Canadian heart, but somehow manages to make every day feel like Valentine’s Day. ♥