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Posted: Dec 31 2015, 09:41 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 18-November 15
January 1 (national holiday)
New Year (shogatsu): This is the most important holiday in Japan. While only January 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3. Years are traditionally viewed as completely separate, with each new year providing a fresh start. Consequently, all duties are supposed to be completed by the end of the year, while bonenkai parties ("year forgetting parties") are held with the purpose of leaving the old year's worries and troubles behind.
Beginning of spring (setsubun): Setsubun is not a national holiday, but celebrated at shrines and temples nationwide. Setsubun ("seasonal division") is a festival held on February 3 or 4, one day before the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar. For many centuries, the people of Japan have been performing rituals with the purpose of chasing away evil spirits at the start of spring the most commonly performed setsubun ritual is the throwing of roasted beans around one's house and at temples and shrines across the country. When throwing the beans, you are supposed to shout "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Devils out, happiness in"). Afterwards you should pick up and eat the number of beans, which corresponds to your age.
Valentine's Day: In Japan, women give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day unlike it's counterpart White day where they receive gifts instead. It is not a national holiday.
White Day: The opposite of Valentine's Day It is Japan's Male equivalent of Valentines day where Men give cakes or chocolates to women instead of receiving them. It is not a national holiday.
April 29 to May 5:
Star Festival (tanabata): Tanabata is a festival rather than a national holiday. Tanabata, also known as the "star festival", takes place on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year, when, according to a Chinese legend, the two stars Altair and Vega, which are usually separated from each other by the milky way, are able to meet. Because the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Tanabata is still celebrated on August 7th in some regions of Japan, while it is celebrated on July 7th in other regions. One popular Tanabata custom is to write one's wishes on a piece of paper, and hang that piece of paper on a specially erected bamboo tree, in the hope that the wishes become true.
Obon: Obon is a festival to commemorate deceased ancestors. An annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors. It is believed that each year during obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. Traditionally, lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits, obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples. At the end of Obon, floating lanterns are put into rivers, lakes and seas in order to guide the spirits back into their world. The customs followed vary strongly from region to region. Obon is observed from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month of the year, which is July according to the solar calendar. However, since the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Obon is still observed in mid August in many regions of Japan, while it is observed in mid July in other regions.
Seven-Five-Three (shichigosan): A festival for children, Shichigosan is not a national holiday. "Shichi Go San" means "Seven Five Three". Girls of age three and seven and boys of age three and five are celebrated on Shichigosan, and it is prayed for their good health and growth. Shichigosan takes place on November 15 and is not a national holiday. On November 15 or the closest weekend, the young people visit a Shinto Shrine dressed up in kimono. Odd numbers are considered lucky numbers. Long candies in bags that are decorated with turtles and cranes are given to the children. The candy, the crane, and the turtle, all symbolize longevity.
November 23 (national holiday)
Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi): A national holiday for honoring labour.