What do oranges, love and Japan all have in common? Well, usually nothing, unless it’s April 14th that is!. A new holiday has emerged called, Orange Day and it’s spreading fast. It was started by citrus farmers, in 1994, in the Ehime Prefecture region of Japan. This holiday is not only a hay day for orange farmers but for other companies looking for a new market. Even Disney has made little gifts displaying Mickey’s famous ears in orange! There is also a drama series in Japan called “Orange Days” which aired in 2004.
Before we speak more about Orange Day perhaps you have heard of a little holiday called Valentines Day? Well, Japan has a bit of a different take on it, woman give gifts to the men on this day. The gift is often chocolates and if they were homemade chocolates, well, you two must be getting serious! These are called honmei-choco (本命チョコ, “chocolate of love”).
After February 14th, we have March 14th where people in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan celebrate White Day. On White Day, if the man received honmei-choco on Valentines Day, it is traditional for the them to then give gifts to the women. The gifts are often delicious home baked good like cookies and chocolates however, gifts can get as sexy as some lingerie! Maybe if you’re lucky you can get both? These gifts are called sanbai gaeshi (三倍返し, literally, “triple the return”). The reason the name is “triple the return” is because the gifts should be three times more costly than the Valentines day gift.
OK, so let’s get to the point here, Orange Day, オレンジデイズ Orenji Deizu in Japanese, is celebrated on April 14th! The reason I mentioned Valentines Day and White Day is because in Japan, Orange Day brings both of these together. Orange day is for expressing your love for each other together. How exactly do you do this? By giving each other oranges and orange colored gifts of course! Orange day is for reconfirming your love for one another and although a fairly new holiday, it’s becoming quite popular.
You might be thinking, why oranges? Well, first, orange trees produce beautiful white flowers which represent the brides purity. Also, the tree bears a lot of fruit and trees which display this are said to represent fertility and prosperity as well.
Finding “the one” and falling in love can be really tough. If you’re single you know how it feels to be left out on these “couple holidays.” So if your trying to get out there and perhaps find some one to spend Orange day with, try out some of these useful Japanese love phrases.
Renai – 恋愛 – love
Koi ni ochiru – 恋に落ちる – to fall in love with
Koi wa moumoku.- 恋は盲目。 – Love is blind.
Aijin – 愛人 – lover
Dokushin desu – 独身です– I’m single
Aishi te i masu – 愛しています – I love you
You never know, maybe you will find your hatsukoi (初恋 — first love) on Orange Day! If not, I am sure somewhere in the world someone will come up with another day for love on May 14th. Got any ideas? If you are serious on honing in on your Japanese skills whether it’s in the name of love or just to get around Japan, check out these courses here: Live Lingua Japanese Courses