Japanese Holidays
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Japanese Holidays

- Japanes Holidays

Here is an article on Japanese Holidays.

Japanese Holidays

The Public Holiday Law (国民の祝日に関する法律 Kokumin no Shukujitsu ni Kansuru Japanes Holidays Hōritsu?) of 1948 (as amended) Japanees Holidays establishes the occasions on which Japan Japnese Holidays has a legal holiday. This article lists those dates together with other occasions for celebration.

A provision Jappanese Holidays of the law establishes that when a national holiday lands on a Sunday, that holiday is moved to Japanse Holidays the next day. Also when a day is sandwiched Japannese Holidays between two national holidays, that day shall also become a holiday (thus May 4, sandwiched between May 3 and May Japanee Holidays 5, is a holiday). By the same law, September Apanese Holidays 22, 2009 is supposed to be a national holiday because the autumnal equinox is expected to land Japaese Holidays on September 23 that year; however, Japamese Holidays the official date of autumnal equinox will be decided on Japanesee Holidays February 1 of that year.

Contents

  • 1 Table of Japanese holidays
  • 2 Recent changes
  • 3 Planned Japnaese Holidays changes
  • 4 See Jpanese Holidays also
  • 5 External links

Table of Japanese holidays

Date Name Remarks
First half of January Japanese New Year

正月 (Shōgatsu) or
お正月 (Oshōgatsu)

January 1 stands at the beginning of Japan's most important holiday season. Japanese call this season shōgatsu or o-shōgatsu. The term may refer to January 1–3, 1–7, or 1–20. Historically, shogatsu was a name for January. January 1 is a national holiday, ganjitsu. Visitors flock to Buddhist temples, some of which ring the bells just as the holiday begins, once for each of the sins. Many people travel to temples or scenic places to watch the year's first sunrise. The post office delivers the greeting cards that Japanese people write in such great numbers on January 1. Traditional decorations include kadomatsu, displays featuring auspicious symbols of pine and bamboo, in a pair flanking the door or gate. Inside the home, a kagami mochi adorns the altar or the tokonoma. The kagami mochi includes layers of a rice cake topped with a daidai, a citrus fruit with an auspicious name. Mochi also feature prominently in zōni, the vegetable soup of the holidays. Families eat special seasonal food, osechi, which they prepare during the closing days of December so that they will not have to cook too much over the holidays. Karuta, a card game involving the waka poems of the Hyakunin Isshu, is a traditional pastime during the New Year holidays, which typically last several days into January.
Second Monday of January Coming-of-Age Day
成人の日 (Seijin no hi)
All people who turn 20 this year are celebrated on this national holiday. Cities and towns hold ceremonies, often with addresses by prominent members of the community. Many of these ceremonies serve alcoholic beverages, which are the privilege of adults. Disorderly conduct has led some cities to curtail these ceremonies. Until 2000, Coming-of-Age Day always fell on January 15th.
February 3 Setsubun
節分 (Setsubun)
Setsubun at Tokuan Shrine.
This traditional holiday, although not a national holiday, marks the beginning of spring. Setsubun inherits a number of traditions peculiar to the season. One of these traditions is mamemaki, the throwing of beans. In which, one throws roasted beans out of one's home, crying oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi ("out with the devils, in with good fortune"). There are regional variations of this saying, and one temple in Nara Prefecture even invites the devils in. During Setsubun, each person also eats a number of beans equal in number to his or her age. In recent years, people in Japan have begun using peanuts instead of Soybeans for this part of the holiday festivities. Supermarkets, however, still stock both peanuts and more traditional soybeans for this purpose.
February 11 National Foundation Day
建国記念の日
(Kenkoku kinen no hi)
The law establishes this national holiday as a day to reflect on the establishment of the nation and to nourish a love for the country. Prior to World War II, it marked the ascension of Emperor Jimmu to the throne, in 660 BC, as the first (legendary) Japanese emperor, according to the Nihonshoki. Following the war, it was eliminated as a national holiday, until the law established it in its present form in 1966 (with the first celebration in the following year). Unlike other national holidays, the law does not establish a date, but rather authorizes an administrative order to do so. An order from the Office of the Prime Minister set the date.
February 14 Valentine's Day On this day, women traditionally give chocolates to their special men, as well as to their male coworkers. Valentine's Day is not a national holiday.
March 3 Hinamatsuri
雛祭り (Hinamatsuri)
This traditional Girls' Festival is not a national holiday. Another name for it is Momo no sekku (the Peach Festival). Girls display a set of dolls dressed in costumes of courtiers of the Heian period. Many families pass these dolls from generation to generation. Other customs include displaying peach blossoms; eating red, white and green diamond-shaped mochi; and drinking shirozake, a white beverage. According to an old wives' tale, a girl who leaves her dolls on display after this holiday will be late to marry.
March 14 White Day On this Japanese twist on Valentine's Day, a man buys his special woman a treat. The national association of candy makers established this event, which formally began in 1980, although its roots date back a few years. It takes its name from the color of sugar. White Day is not a national holiday.
Around March 21 Vernal equinox
春分の日 (Shunbun no hi)
The vernal equinox is a national holiday for the admiration of nature and the love of living things. Around this time, various Buddhist sects celebrate the spring higan. Many people visit the graves of their ancestors, washing the tombstone, tidying up the site, and offering flowers. The first celebration in Japan took place in 806.
April 8 Flower Festival
(Hana Matsuri) or (Kambutsu-e)
The Flower Festival (Hana-matsuri or Kanbutsu-e) is a celebration of Buddha's Birthday. It is not a national holiday. Children traditionally drink ama-cha, a beverage prepared from a variety of hydrangea. People also pour ama-cha on statues of Buddha.
April 29 Greenery Day
みどりの日 (Midori no hi)
This national holiday began as the birthday of the Shōwa Emperor (see The Emperor's Birthday, below). Following the death of the Emperor, the date continued to be a holiday under the new name. It is also the start of the Golden Week holiday period. The holiday law established this day for friendship with nature and gratitude for its blessings. In 2007, Greenery Day will move to May 4, while April 29 will take the name Shōwa Day in honor of the late Emperor.
May 3 Constitution Memorial Day
憲法記念日 (Kenpō kinenbi)
This national holiday commemmorates the date on which Japan's postwar constitution took effect. The "Macarthur Constitution" replaced the Meiji Constitution in 1947 and this date became a holiday in the following year. Constitution Memorial Day falls during Golden Week.
May 4 "Between Day"
国民の休日 (Kokumin no kyūjitsu)
This national holiday has no name. The holiday law stipulates that a day that falls between two holidays shall also be a holiday, and since this day falls between Constitution Memorial Day and Children's Day, it too is a holiday.
May 5 Children's Day
子供の日 (Kodomo no hi)
Golden Week ends with this national holiday. Previously known as Boys' Festival, or Tango no sekku (the Iris Festival), this holiday, while it is called Children's Day, is actually for boys only. On this day families can let it be known to the neighbors that they have a boy in the house by flying koi streamers. The Edo period samurai custom of flying streamers in the shape of koi continues. Golden Week closes with this national holiday.
July or August 7 Tanabata
七夕 (Tanabata)
Tanabata
Also known as the day of the Star Festival, Tanabata is of Chinese origin. This is the one night on which the lovers Orihime (the weaver princess) and Hikoboshi (the cowherd), separated by the princess's father, are able to meet. They had married with the father's approval, but in their wedded contentment, were neglecting their weaving and herding; for this, the father (the Emperor of Heaven) placed them on opposite sides of the river. In this astronomical tale, Orihime is identified with the star Vega, and Hikoboshi with Altair; the Milky Way is the river that separates them. Japanese people celebrate by decorating the shops and streets with bamboo and colorful plastic ornaments. They write their wishes on poem-cards and tie them to the bamboo. Tanabata is not a national holiday; moreover, in some localities the celebrations occur on July 7 while in others they take place on dates such as August 7 (which is closer to the traditional date according to the lunar calendar).
Third Monday of July Marine Day
海の日 (Umi no hi)
The law established this national holiday as a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that Japan is. Prior to 1996, it was known as Marine Memorial Day, and was not a holiday. In 1996, it became a national holiday, with its date fixed as July 20. An amendment to the law made it, as of 2003, the Monday holiday it now is.
July/August 13-15 Bon Festival
お盆 (Obon)
Obon is a festival with origins in the Buddhist urabon ceremony of giving offerings to one's parents and other ancestors. In addition, native traditions have become intermixed with Buddhist practice in the present-day Obon. Although it is not a national holiday, many companies close their offices, and people return to their ancestral homes in the country, resulting in traffic jams and overcrowding on the railways both at the beginning and at the end of the August Obon. Bonfires guide the spirits of the departed home. Priests read from the scriptures for the souls; relatives place offerings in front of altars. At the end of the period, a second round of fires guides the spirits back to the other world. Around this time, a special form of communal dancing, bon odori, is popular, with many communities hosting events in public parks to the accompaniment of live or recorded music. The traditional date of Obon was the fifteenth day of the seventh month according to the lunar calendar; after Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar, some people continued to celebrate it on the traditional date, while most adopted either July 15 or August 15 (which is close to the traditional date). In recent years, with a decline in religious observance, the August date has become predominant. In addition, the Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak around this time, and since Japanese tradition associates "shooting stars" with the spirits of the departed, this meshes nicely with an August obon.
Third Monday of September Respect for the Aged Day
敬老の日 (Keirō no hi)
This national holiday traces its origins to 1947, when a town proclaimed September 15 as Old Folks' Day. Its popularity spread nationwide, and in 1966 it took its present name and status. Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country.
Around September 23 Autumnal equinox
秋分の日 (Shūbun no hi)
This national holiday is similar in significance to Shunbun no hi, the celebration of the vernal equinox.
Second Monday of October Health and Sports Day
体育の日 (Taiiku no hi)
The law sets aside this day as a national holiday for enjoying sports and cultivating a healthy mind and body. It was created in 1966 on the anniversary of the opening day of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
November 3 Culture Day
文化の日 (Bunka no hi)
Culture Day has been a national holiday since the Public Holiday Law took effect in 1948. It commemorates the adoption of the Constitution (which took effect six months later). The date was also a holiday prior to World War II, having been the birthday of Emperor Meiji. On this date, the Emperor awards the Order of Culture to recipients in the Kokyo.
November 15 Shichi-Go-San
七五三 (Shichigosan)
On this Shinto holiday, families celebrate a child’s accomplishment of achieving the ages of 3, 5, or 7. By custom, parents bring their children to the tutelary shrine: boys at ages 3 and 5, girls at 3 and 7. Although previously ages were reckoned by the kazoedoshi system, according to which a child was born with age one and turned two on New Year's Day, parents nowadays bring their children to shrines according to age based on birthdays. The traditional date was the fifteenth day according to the lunar calendar, that is, the full moon. November is the month when people visit the shrine to give thanks for the harvest, and parents pray in addition for their children. Children receive chitose-ame, a sweet whose name means "thousand-year (i.e. long-life) candy." It has auspicious red and white stripes, and comes in bags bearing motifs of cranes and turtles, which are also symbols of long life, as well as pines, bamboo and ume. November 15 is not a national holiday.
November 23 Labour Thanksgiving Day
勤労感謝の日
(Kinrō kansha no hi)
Labour Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday. The law establishing the holiday cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks. It became an official holiday in 1948. Earlier, it was a harvest festival named niinamesai.
December 23 The Emperor's Birthday
天皇誕生日 (Tennō tanjōbi)
Emperor Akihito prepares to greet a flag-waving crowd at the Imperial Palace on his birthday.
The birthday of the reigning emperor is a national holiday. Emperor Akihito was born on this date in 1933. The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is open to the public, and hundreds of thousands of well-wishers wave flags in honor of the occasion.
December 24-25 Christmas Although not a national holiday, Christmas in Japan is very popular. Many traditionally western symbols, such as carols, Santa Claus and strings of lights, and the eating of Christmas cakes (often featuring strawberries and whipped cream), have become part of the celebration. In addition, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is popular during Christmas and the following week. Although the nativity of Jesus is usually not celebrated as part of the holiday in Japan, it is always recognized as a significant part of Christmas.
December 31 Omisoka
大晦日 (Ōmisoka)
In the weeks prior to year's end, Japanese people hold bōnenkai or "forget-the-year meetings." Many employers hold these parties to reward their employees for their service during the past year. Held at restaurants, these gatherings are occasions for consumption of large amounts of beer and sake.

Ōsōji, major housecleaning, is part of the New Year's tradition. The equivalent of "spring cleaning" Japanese households are cleaned thoroughly towards the beginning of the New Year. Once the house is clean, a lot of cooking is done to prepare for the traditional New Year's meals.

Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, the holiday season begins as many offices and factories close for a week or so. Traffic jams amounting to 50 km build up as cars leave Tokyo and other major population centers, bound for the countryside. Travel by rail can become difficult as trains on the Shinkansen and other lines are filled with standees. Enormous numbers of tourists leave the country, flocking to destinations like Hawaii and Southeast Asia.

Shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve Toshi-koshi soba, which literally translates to "Across the Years Noodles", are served in houses and temples across Japan just before midnight and eaten as the New Year occurs. At midnight gongs at local temples are rung 108 times, once to eliminate each type of greed, and is broadcast throughout Japan.

An annual television spectacular is NHK's Kōhaku Uta Gassen program, on which teams of singers perform in a variety of genres for some hours to close the year.

New Year's Eve is not a national holiday.

Recent changes

Beginning in 2000, Japan implemented the Happy Monday System (ハッピーマンデー制度) which moved a number of national holidays to Monday in order to obtain a "long weekend":

  • Coming-of-Age Day: January 15 → 2nd Monday of January, starting in 2000.
  • Marine Day: July 20 → 3rd Monday of July, starting in 2003.
  • Respect for the Aged Day: September 15 → 3rd Monday of September, starting in 2003.
  • Health and Sports Day: October 10 → 2nd Monday of October, starting in 2000.

Planned changes

In 2005 the country decided to add Showa Day, a new national holiday, in place of Greenery Day on April 29, and to move Greenery Day to May 4. These changes will take effect in 2007.

See also

  • Japanese calendar
  • Japanese festivals

External links

  • Annual Calendar - Kids Web Japan
  • Japanese Holidays - Japan-Guide.com
  • Public holiday law (in Japanese)
Search Term: "Holidays_of_Japan"

 

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