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Valentine’s Day, Howaito Day and that Box of Chocolates




In the third century, Roman Emperor Claudius II ordered all men to stay unmarried so he could enlist them as soldiers to fight in his wars guilt-free. Because the priest, Valentine, disobeyed him and continued to marry couples, the Emperor imprisoned then beheaded him. It would be a couple of centuries before Valentine was consecrated a saint.


A millenium later in the 19th century, St. Valentine's name was on a card and associated with chocolates. Richard Cadbury, scion of a chocolate manufacturing family in Victorian England is usually the person held responsible for commercialising chocolates for Valentine’s Day. In the late 20th century, Japan (and increasingly other ESEA countries) took romantic commercialism to a whole new level, by observing White Day, pronounced Howaito Day, a month later. On White Day, a return gift must be given to the Valentine's Day giver in double or triple the value of the gift received on Valentine’s Day.


With its varied history, Valentine’s Day is probably a day best carried out however you want because historic wisdom on how life is like a box of chocolates tells us that you never know what you’re going to get. Grin. Enjoy the good ones in the coming days. And happy Valentine’s.

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