White Day Asia

A Husband giving White Day gift to his wife

As all of us should know, the day of romance we call Valentine‘s Day is about the many people who exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” We also know that Valentine‘s Day is widely celebrated basically everywhere around the world, but did you know that there is another holiday that comes one month after it, that works in similar ways to each other except its all about the guys giving gifts?

You’re already aware that Valentine’s Day is a few months away, and Easter is the next chocolate holiday to come after it. But Valentine’s Day would not be over just yet in other places, a holiday celebrated on March 14, one month after Valentine‘s Day is called White Day. In Japan and other Asian countries including Taiwan, South Korea and China, will celebrate White Day.

 Typically, women shower men with chocolate and gifts on Valentine’s Day, and White Day is when men are supposed to return the favor by buying two to three times more expensive gifts for the women on White Day. The name stems from the giving of primarily white giftslike white chocolate and lingerie, by men as an answer to Valentine’s Day gifts. In recent years, the exclusively white nature of the holiday has changed to include both dark and white chocolate, other shades of lingerie and non-chocolate candies like lollipops. Many convenience stores set up large displays out in front of their shops, with a heavy focus on chocolate and chocolate candies like Ferrero RocherTwix and Chupa Chups.

There is a strong tradition of women giving chocolates to men on Valentines Day. There are two types of chocolates, “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco.” Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends.“Giri” means obligation meaning that Giri-choco has no romantic meaning involved. On the other handHonmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband with true love.
Here is an interesting fact to know about:
 Japanese women often prepare the Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the readymade chocolate at shops.

Another interesting fact to know about: Lovers in Taiwan have not one but three Valentine’s Days to celebrate, which just goes to show you that Taiwan is a little island big on romance. People celebrate the Western Valentine’s Day on February 14th, the Chinese lunar Qi-Xi on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, and the one that originated in Japan, White Day. -Donato Castrejon-Solis

Christmas In Mexico

The people of Mexico prepare and celebrate Christmas a little earlier than most of the people in the United States. They have their own traditions. A lot of them like to celebrate 9 nights earlier up until Christmas Eve so they start on December 16 because of the posadas and continue to celebrate every night until December 24.

The posadas are when the neighborhoods gather together and visit a different host house or store each night. The people at the host house give out gifts and food, Normally they give gifts for the kids (such as toys.) The food they give out to the many people includes tamales, empanadas, and bread. The next night, everyone meets at that place then walks together to the next house or store. On the way, they like to sing songs. This  most likely the same routine until December 24, which is often the largest gathering.

People walking with candles during a posada.

 

Festival of Deepawali at Nepal

Festival of Deepawali

Tihar is one of the most well known Hindu holiday/festivals  throughout Nepal and in different parts of India. Tihar is also known as the Festival of Lights. Tihar is mainly divided into 5 days in October.

Day 1 is known as Kag Tihar which means “crow worship day.” Crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death because back on the days at World War I and II Nepal did not have the kind of technology to inform or get any information about Nepalese soldiers, so every morning if they heard the crow making a specific sound they believed that their loved one is no longer with them.

Day 2 is Kukur Tihar which means “festival of dogs.” People celebrate this because they believe that dogs are the the most loyal friend of mankind. Dog Puja  is done by putting a red tika powder on their forehead and a flower garland around the neck and offering them their favorite foods. Male dogs are worshiped most because people believe that dogs can see danger and death coming. Usually whenever dogs cry, people believe that someone is going to leave them and go far away where they cannot return back with them.

Day 3 is Gai Tihar which means “cow worship day.” Cows are worshiped with light sesame oil, garlands of flowers and the color red all over their body. In Hindu culture, people who don’t have their own mother worship cows as their own mother because they believe that they get older by drinking their milk. Others worship Lakshmi, a god and the mother of wealth and prosperity. Later in the afternoon they clean their houses and decorate with flowers and lights. Then when they are done they make small footprints in front of their main entry in belief that Lakshmi has  entered their house, then the family comes together, worships and asks for blessings. When the night comes, people start to light the candles and electrical lights and hang out with family and friends.

Day 4 is Goru Tihar which is also know as worshiping Oxen. On that day, people perform three different puja (worship). People also do govardhan puja which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat which is literally cow dung. People in Nepal give much importance to cow dung because they use this for light at night and they paint their house floor with it. They believe that without this their festival is incomplete.

Day 5,  which is the last day of the festival, is Bhai Tika, which means “celebration of brothers.” On this day, sisters put different kinds of colors on the foreheads of her brothers, to ensure his long life and health. Then, brothers do the same thing for their sisters and give them gifts and money. On this day, brothers who are far away from their sisters try to make it to their sister’s place and share happiness. Some brothers don’t have a sister, so they go to the temple or they also “adopt” their friend’s sister or go to their neighbor and ask for favor to become their sister. Later on at night people go out and have parties. – Lachu Adhikai