Temple ideas

International Owls makes Valentine’s Day a global celebration

Love is a universal language and owls speak it fluently! We caught up with a few international students about the unique way Valentine’s Day is celebrated at Temple’s global campuses.

Riccardo Pianese, class of 2023, is originally from Rome, but the business management major is currently taking classes at the main campus. He found Valentine’s Day to be more commercialized in America than in Italy, where he thinks the holiday is more of a proper celebration between lovers.

“My ideal Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to date the person you’re on a romantic date with,” Pianese said. For Valentine’s Day last year, he treated an American classmate studying at Temple University Rome to an authentic Italian date.

“I organized all of this,” Pianese said. “I built a charcuterie board and took her for a picnic in this aqueduct park we have in Rome. It’s like a big field with ancient aqueducts. Really, really on point, if I must say,” he laughed.

Riccardo Pianese, Class of 2023, is a business management student currently taking classes at the main campus. (Photo courtesy of Riccardo Pianese)

Pianese said he has always been aware of some of the differences between how the holiday is celebrated in America and in Italy, thanks in part to American media. “Most of the TV shows or movies we watch are American, so if you think of a time when you saw someone celebrating Valentine’s Day on TV, that would be how Americans celebrate it,” did he declare. “So I know the idea of ​​the little notes that people hand out to their classmates,” Pianese added, though he said Italians don’t usually hand out Valentine’s Day cards the way Italians do. Americans.

Pianese experienced the vacation in America firsthand as an international student studying high school in Massachusetts. Her high school was decorated with Valentine’s Day-themed symbols, and activities and events were held for the holiday. “It’s not really something we would do in Italy,” he said. “It’s not something that’s organized by a community.”

There was one familiarity about the Valentine’s Day Pianese lived in Massachusetts: chocolate. A popular symbol of the holiday in Italy is Baci Perugina, which Pianese says is similar to Hershey’s kisses.

“It’s a very popular type of chocolate, especially for Valentine’s Day, because it’s basically a fortune cookie but made of chocolate,” he said. “In the packaging there is a little romantic quote, because baci means kiss. So it means “Kiss of Perugina”.

Miki Matsui, Class of 2023, is a communications student at Temple University, Japan Campus, and she noticed a similar trend in the celebration of Valentine’s Day in her country.

“I think the general attitude towards Valentine’s Day in Japan would be ‘chocolate!’,” Matsui said. “I even feel that Japanese people often see Valentine’s Day as a massive chocolate event.”

Miki Matsui, class of 2023, is a communication student at Temple University, Japan Campus. (Photo courtesy of Miki Matsui)

Lisa Horiuchi, Class of 2023, is also a communications major at TUJ. After experiencing Valentine’s Day in America and Japan, she discovered that the celebration in her homeland was less fun: “No roses. No cards. Just chocolate!”

Matsui and Horiuchi explained that Valentine’s Day in Japan is largely a day when women give chocolate gifts to everyone, from friends and acquaintances, to crushes and romantic interests. For this reason, the type of chocolate given depends greatly on the relationship between the giver and the receiver.

Chocolate given to a crush or partner is called honmei-choco, and Horiuchi said more effort goes into making these treats. She said it’s common for Japanese women to melt chocolate into a different shape or decorate it with toppings to make it extra special for their crush or someone special.

Lisa Horiuchi, class of 2023, is a communication student at Temple University, Japan Campus. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Horiuchi)

Another type of chocolate is called giri-choco, which Matsui says means “chocolate of obligation”. Horiuchi explained that this type of chocolate is given to men who a woman wouldn’t consider her crush. Giri-choco is usually store-bought and not decorated the same way as honmei-choco, she said.

A third type of chocolate given on Valentine’s Day in Japan is called tomo-choco, and Matsui says this popular type of chocolate is swapped between girlfriends.

“Women often gift artisan chocolate or even other handmade candies to their friends on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t know why or when this tomo-choco tradition started, but I think it’s still quite common.”

Perhaps the biggest difference between Valentine’s Day celebrations in Japan and America is that Japanese men have their own special holiday when they return the favor to women who have given them Valentine’s Day gifts. This is called White Day, and it is celebrated on March 14.

“I think White Day is often seen as a day when men thank women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day,” Matsui said. “There are no tomo-choco or giri-choco traditions for this day. I think it’s not as important as Valentine’s Day.