Students recognize, celebrate Valentines Day in different ways


Submitted Photo: Aika Uda

12th-grader Aika Uda (fourth from left) poses with classmates and handmade candy on Valentines Day. Uda said it’s customary in Japan for women to give chocolates all the men in their lives.

Raghav Sriram and Kruti Subbannavar

Japanese students at CHS sister school talk about Valentines, White Day traditions

The morning of Valentines Day in Seikyo Gakuen High School in Osaka, Japan, sister school of CHS, dawns with friends cooing over handmade chocolates made by their peers. 11th grader Misaki Taniyama shares her handmade chocolates with her friends, while trying some they made for her. 

According to Taniyama, in Japanese culture, the girls give the boys and their girl friends handmade chocolates as a sign of romantic and platonic love. 

However, the only presents exchanged on this day are from the girls, 11th grader Anri Okuda said. He said, “Girls give chocolates to (the) boyfriend, and the boys have to give something on White Day.” 

According to Japanese teacher Tiffany Litzelman, Valentines Day was popularized in Japan by confectionary stores who saw an opportunity for profit, and mainly targeted women. 

She said, “Women are not just obligated to give chocolate to their sweetheart (or) the guy they like, but are obligated to give it to male friends, coworkers and family members. Many women feel overwhelmed by the obligation and have come to resent the amount of money they are expected to spend on Valentines Day.” It is perhaps for this reason that the BBC recently found Valentines Day spending is declining in Japan.

White Day, according to 12th grader Aika Uda, occurs on Mar. 14 and is when boys reciprocate and give chocolates to girls that gave them chocolates, and add a present if confessing a crush.

According to Litzelman, White Day was made up by department stores as another way to make money. She said White Day, or Answer Day, men spend money on gifts as well. Taniyama and Okuda said couples do not do anything very special on this day. 

Finally, Taniyama said her wish is to spend Valentines Day in a country where boys gave her presents on that day as well, while Uda said her wish was to spend it in a European country for a completely opposite experience from Japan. 

Students discuss celebrating Valentines Day as same-sex couple

Sophomore Kaela Moon has been dating junior Malorie Palmer for a year and three months. As a couple, they like to celebrate Valentines Day together.

Moon said, “I enjoy having a holiday where I can celebrate the person I love and shower her with gifts to show her how much I appreciate her.”

Sophomore Kaela Moon (bottom) and junior Malorie Palmer (top) pose for a picture during their Valentines Day celebration last year. They said they went out to eat at a restaurant, but have changed their plans to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines this year. (Submitted Photo: Malorie Palmer)

Palmer also enjoys the holiday, stating that she likes the pink and hearts that frequently surround this day.

Valentines Day is a celebration of love, and as an LGBT couple, Palmer and Moon said not much is different for them from heterosexual couples.

“It’s pretty much the same, you just don’t get anything that says ‘him and her’ on it, and you’re fine,” Palmer said.

CHS psychologist Kristina Bonnet said celebrating Valentines Day while in a relationship can be a fun and fulfilling thing. She said students could have fun getting each other personal gifts and trinkets.

However, Bonnet said, “I do think there is a stigma to celebrate if you are not following the “social norm” of being heterosexual. I imagine students may be less inclined to openly celebrate if they think they will be judged by their peers. I am so glad Carmel High School celebrates all individuals and is a welcoming environment, regardless of one’s sexuality or personal preferences.”

Moon and Palmer celebrated last year’s Valentines Day by getting each other carnations from the school, and Palmer gifting Moon a packet of Sour Patch Kids while Moon gave her girlfriend a pack of chocolates.

Due to COVID-19, their plans have slightly changed this year.

Palmer said, “I think we’re just gonna go to somebody’s house instead of out in public and watch a movie.”

Moon added, “We switch off which restaurant we go to everytime, and it’s my turn this time, so we’re gonna order Mexican (food).”

Although both Palmer and Moon like celebrating this holiday, they don’t seem to agree on the opinion that Valentines Day is an accurate representation of love. However, they still take the opportunity to celebrate their love for each other and  know of their importance in each other’s lives.

Bonnet said Valentines Day can cause unnecessary pressure for students in relationships, and they should remember to enjoy themselves first and foremost, as that is the point of celebrating Valentines Day.

As Moon said, “(Valentines Day) “is all about showing the person you love that you care about them.”

Marissa Finney