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 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations

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dreamsinpink
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PostSubject: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime29th August 2015, 10:52 pm

日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Japneseholidays

Festivals, seasons, and holidays, no matter what time of year it is, you can be sure that there's something coming right around the corner. This is a list of Japanese holidays and seasons, plus a brief explanation of what happens during these times.

Please note that this list does not include festivals that are held in individual festivals every year - there are just too many!

1月 - January


正月 (Shougatsu) - New Year's - December 31st - January 1st
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Img_0
New Year's is the biggest holiday in Japan, and it's usually spent with family. Families aim to clean their apartments before the 31st, so they can have a fresh start to the new year. Most people visit a shrine or temple within the first three days of January to pray for happiness and good luck. NHK always airs a special program called "Kohaku-utagassen" which focuses on J-music stars. People eat special new year's food called "osechi" (featured in the photo above), and children receive "otoshidama" (money in a decorative envelope). Forget Christmas cards, in Japan you send "nengajou", New Year's cards.


成人の日 (Seijin no Hi) - Coming of Age Day - 2nd Monday in January
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Kimono-Coming-of-Age-Day-2012-G8920
Coming of Age Day is a celebration for everyone who has turned 20 in the previous year. Many cities hold special ceremonies, and people organize parties with family and friends. On this day you can see a lot of young women dressed up special "furisode" kimonos. Guys sometimes get dressed up traditional wear, but often opt for suits.


2月 - February


節分 (Setsubun) - Bean-Throwing Festival - February 3rd or 4th
Setsubun is a day to chase the evil spirits away, and welcome happiness in for the upcoming year. Many shrines hold a Setsubun festival, in which people dress up as "oni" or demons. People throw soybeans at the oni while chanting, 「鬼は外福は内」 ("Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!") - Demons out, and happiness in! Afterwards, you are supposed to pick up and eat a bean for each year of your life. Another interesting Setsubun tradition is eating "ehou-maki" which translates to "lucky direction roll". These handrolls are eaten in silence while facing the lucky direction of the year, which is determined by the year's zodiac symbol.

建国記念の日 (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) - Foundation Day - February 11th
A holiday to celebrate and reflect upon the Japan becoming a nation, and to promote a love of the country amongst its people.

バレンタインデー - Valentine's Day - February 14th
Borrowing from western countries, Japan has adopted Valentine's Day into their rotation of holidays. Valentine's Day in Japan is for girls give to their male friends, co-workers, classmates, and boyfriends (or husbands). Boys are not expected to give anything on Valentine's Day. While Valentine's Day cards aren't popular, chocolate is the number one gift, and many department stores sell make-your-own-chocolate kits. Girls will also give sweets to their girl friends.

There are two major types of gifts: 義理チョコ (Giri-choco) or obligation chocolate is inexpensive chocolate that you give to men that you don't really have any special feelings for (like classmates or co-workers). 本命チョコ (Honmei-choco) or true feeling chocolate is given to someone that you have true, romantic feelings for like a boyfriend, husband, or even a crush, and is usually more expensive.


3月 - March


ひな祭り (Hinamatsuri) - Girl's Day or Doll Festival - March 3rd
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Girls-day-hina-ningyo-set
A special day to celebrate girls! Families with girls in them often set up a platform with stairs, and decorate it with dolls. The display usually goes up in February, but must be taken down right after the holiday. Many of the dolls are passed on from generation to generation.

ホワイトデー (White Day) - March 14th
While Valentine's Day was for girls to give to boys, White Day is when boys return the favour and give a present to the girls that gave them something for Valentine's Day.

春分の日 (Shunbun no Hi) - Spring Equinox - March 21st
A national holiday to celebrate the spring equinox.

桜の季節 (Sakura no Kisetsu) - Cherry Blossom Season
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Hanami
Mid-march through April (depending on where you live) is cherry blossom season in Japan. When the beautiful pink buds begin to bloom, people head outdoors for 花見 (hanami) - cherry blossom viewing parties. People often set up tarps under the cherry blossom trees and bring a picnic with friends, family, or co-workers. Cherry blossom tree illuminations are all over the country as people enjoy their beauty.


4月 - April


ゴールデンウィーク - Golden Week
The string of four national holidays at the end of April, beginning of May. This is the most expensive and busiest time to travel anywhere in Japan as a lot of people get time off.

昭和の日 (Showa no Hi) - Showa Day - April 29th
A national holiday that observes the birthday of the Emperor of the Showa period who died in 1989.


5月 - May


憲法記念日 (Kinpou no Kinenbi) - Constitution Memorial Day - May 3rd
Celebration of the postwar constitution that went into effect in 1947.

みどりの日 (Midori no Hi) - Greenery Day - May 4th
Greenery Day now really just serves as an extra holiday. It was originally on April 29th for the Emperor's birthday as the former Emperor Showa loved nature and plants. In 2006, it moved to May 4th because of a Japanese law declares a day that falls between two national holidays, a national holiday.

こどもの日 (Kodomo no Hi) - Children's Day - May 5th
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Gold_450_2
Children's day is when the Boy's Festival is celebrated, and families pray for the health and future success of their sons. People hang carp streamers (called 鯉のぼり (koi no bori), and display samurai dolls and helmets.


6月 - June


梅雨 (Tsuyu) - Rainy Season
June is known as Japan's rainy season. Super cute rain boots go on sale, and umbrellas are stocked full!


7月 - July


七夕 (Tanabata) - Star Festival - July 7th
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations 0707_2
Based on an ancient Chinese myth, the Tanabata Festival celebrates the time when the two star-crossed lovers, Orihime (Vega star) and Hikoboshi (Altair star), who were separated by the Milky Way, can meet once again in the sky. On this day many cities around the country hold Star Festivals. There are "yatai", food stalls, parades, music, dancing and fireworks. People write their wishes on small slips of paper, called "tanazuku", and tie them onto bamboo trees. These wish trees are then floated down a river or ocean, and burned as an offering.

海の日 (Umi no Hi) - Sea Day - Third Monday in July
This is a relatively new holiday in Japan, and while it officially is supposed to be a day to observe the sea (as Japan is an island country), many people just enjoy it as a day off.


8月 - August


山の日 (Yama no Hi) - Mountain Day - August 11th
This is a brand new holiday that will begin in 2016. It was created to appreciate Japan's beautiful mountains, and will be held around the same time as Obon, giving people a bit of extra vacation time.

お盆 (Obon) - Mid-August in many regions
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Largest-Bon-Odori
Obon is celebrated either in mid-July or mid-August (usually the 13th - 15th), depending on the region of Japan. It's a time to honour ancestors, and remember those who have passed. Families hang lanterns outside of their houses to guide the spirits who have returned to this world for a visit. There are festivals all around the country to celebrate, which include food stalls, parades, and music. "Bon odori" (or obon dances) are performed, graves are visited, and people make offerings of food. Floating lanterns are used in rivers, lakes, and seas to guide the spirits back to their world.

Despite the eerie return of the dead, Obon is not a scary holiday in Japan. Along with Golden Week, Obon is one of the busiest travel times in the country, as people travel within the country or even abroad due to the time off.


9月 - September


台風の季節 (Typhoon no Kisetsu) - Typhoon Season
September is a hot time for typhoons, and you find yourself checking the weather more often than any other time during the year. Weather websites post warning levels when typhoons are approaching so that schools and businesses can decide whether or not to stay open.

シルバーウィーク - Silver Week - The three following holidays are often to referred to as "Silver Week" to coincide with the "Golden Week" in April / May.

敬老の日 - Respect for the Aged Day - Third Monday in September
A day used to honour and respect the elderly and to celebrate longevity.

国民の休日 (Kokumin no Kyuujitsu) - National Holiday - September 22nd
This day is a holiday because it falls between two other holidays.

秋分の日 - Autumn Equinox - September 23rd
A national holiday to mark the beginning of Autumn, and to honour our ancestors.


10月 - October


体育の日 (Taiiku no Hi) - Health and Sports Day - Second Monday of October
This is a national holiday to celebrate a healthy body and mind. Many schools and companies choose this day to hold an "undokai" or sports events, where people participate in a variety of team games and track and field type events.


11月 - November


紅葉の季節 (Kouyou no Kisetsu) - Autumn Foliage Season
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations Foliage
Again, this one depends on where in Japan you live, but for most of Honshuu the month of November is when the leaves change colours. Many people take day and weekend trips to to see the beautiful reds, yellows and oranges. You'll also find a lot of fall foliage illuminations at shrines and temples.

体育の日 (Bunka no Hi) - Culture Day - November 3rd
A national holiday used to promote culture, the arts, and academics. Many cities will hold special art exhibits, culture festivals and parades on this day.

勤労感謝の日 (Kinryou Kansha no Hi) - Labour Thanksgiving Day- November 23rd
This national holiday is for celebrating the labour force and to give thanks for the hard work. Some cities and prefectures hold festivals, and elementary school children often draw pictures for the police officers to be put on display.


12月 - December


天皇誕生日 (Tennou Tanjoubi) - The Emperor's Birthday - December 23rd
The reigning Emperor's birthday is always a national holiday in Japan. The current Emperor, Akihito, was born on December 23rd, 1933. On his birthday there is a special ceremony that takes place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, and the grounds are open to the public for viewing (usually they are closed off).

クリスマス - Christmas - December 24th and 25th
日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations 1-4
While Christmas has little to no religious meaning in Japan, it is often celebrated as a time to spend with loved ones. Young children do often believe in Santa, and receive presents like children in the west. One special Christmas tradition in Japan is to eat KFC and Christmas cake (featured above). 

Lots of young people struggle to find a date for Christmas Eve, as Christmas is akin to Valentine's Day in the west. There are lots of illuminations and English Christmas songs playing in the stores. 



Which holiday looks most interesting to you? Are there any you'd like to celebrate in your country?

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime1st September 2015, 9:04 pm

I know there's a mini cherry blossom festival in Washington DC because of all the cherry trees there; and I did a research paper in middle school about boys and girls day and always wished we had them here. Also, it's interesting that their "coming of age" age is 20, not 18 or 21.

But Oban and the Tantaba festival's seem fantastic. I wish we had them in the US-or at east a mini celebration like we do the cherry blossom festival.

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime1st September 2015, 9:32 pm

Wow! There's a lot of celebrations in Japan! These are all so cool and unique!!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime6th September 2015, 6:15 am

I find it interesting that as well as Obon, the Autumn Equinox is a day to honor and remember ancestors.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - I noticed that about the Coming of Age holiday when I saw the episode of the 90s anime series devoted to it.  It was during SuperS season, while the Amazoness Quartet were the villains of focus for the senshi.

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime6th September 2015, 7:36 am

I really want to visit Japan and wear a kimono.  It is a beautiful country.

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime6th September 2015, 5:17 pm

Very Interesting. I know there is some Americanized Japanese holidays in the US. Espeically with Cherry Blossoms. So many festivities to see and experience. It all sounds so exciting.

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime7th September 2015, 6:52 pm

I love the Valentine's/White Day concept Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: 日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations   日本の祝日 - Japanese Holidays and Celebrations I_icon_minitime10th September 2015, 8:53 am

I'm very amused by the Christmas and KFC thing. I wonder how that came to be xD

Also, do the two different types of Valentine's Day chocolates look physically different or...? How would the recipient tell if it's honmei-choco or giri-choco? o.o

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