Illustration for Magnolia by Iris Farinas

Chinese 

For the Chinese, they have the Qixi festival or Magpie festival.  Celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year.

Ancient Chinese legend where a beautiful weaver girl Zhi NV, who is actually a goddess, went down to the land and met a cow herder, Niu Lang and fell in love. They married and had 2 children. When Zhi Nv’s grandmother, the Queen of the Heavens, Wang Mu Niang Niang found out, she wasn’t too happy. She was angry that her granddaughter married a mortal.  So she created a wide river in the heavens with her hairpin forming the milky way and separated the two from each other.  Altair (star) and Vega (star) is Zhi NV and Niu Lang.  Zhi NV was to live without her husband and her children for eternity.  They both cried so much that the magpies in the sky took pity on them.  They created a bridge for the two to be able to see each other, but only once a year.

Traditionally, on this day, young girls will have needlework competitions in honour of the weaver girl.  Single and newly-wed women would celebrate the festival with offerings.

Illustration for Magnolia by Iris Farinas

Japan

There is a strong tradition of women giving chocolates for men on valentines day.  There are three kinds: Giri-choco, which is an ‘obligatory’ chocolate that you gift out to your bosses, colleagues, and teachers; tomo choco, meant for friends in your life; and Honmei-Choco, meant for those who hold a place in your heart.
Leading up to Valentines day, the stores are filled with these chocolates, and tools on how to make them, and women.

More unique to Japanese, is “white day” a day where the men return the favor that was previously shown to them by the women they love and the women in their life.  This is the day where women, dressed in white, gift the women who gave them Valentine day chocolates, chocolates as well, along with candy, flowers, and other gifts. Traditionally, the chocolates are white, due to the name of the holiday.

 

South Korea

In South Korea, the 14th day of every month of the year is celebrated as a certain “love day.” The most popular – Valentine’s Day on February 14th, when women give gifts of chocolate to men for whom they feel affection. During the next month, “White Day” is celebrated on March 14th. Men return gifts of chocolate, especially white chocolate, and hard candies, often around three times the value of the gift they received from their loved ones. This is similar to the Japanese tradition of V-day gifting.

Unique to South Korea, a third day, “Black Day” falling on April 14th, is dedicated to singles. People who did not receive Valentine’s or White Day gifts gather in restaurants, often wearing black, to lament their lack of love. Jajangmyeon, a “comfort food” and national dish comprising noodles topped with thick, black soybean sauce, is a popular dish for this occasion.

 

Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

Are 6 Asian countries that have banned Valentine Day.  In parts of the country, many people protest. Many others have found a way to celebrate the holiday anyways.  Letters with the expression of love, celebrating the holiday as a group and other sneaky ways people in love can express it.