Japan holidays

If you are going to visit Japan, it may be useful to know some of the festivities most important throughout the year. Here are some of the main ones that are celebrated throughout Japan.

Shougatsu , Japanese holiday

Shogatsu (正月, new year)

It is perhaps the most important event in Japan. During shogatsu, people exhibit outside the houses kadomatsu, which are arrangements made with pine branches and bamboo. This was traditionally done to welcome kami. This date is a time to make plans and new resolutions for next year.

Hina Matsuri, Japanese holiday

Hina Matsuri (雛 祭 り, Doll Festival)

This festival is celebrated on March 3 and consists of the elaboration of an altar where they are exhibited hina ningyo, dolls in traditional dress. On this day, they pray for the well-being and health of the girls, and offer sake and food.

Hanami, flower watching

Hanami (花 見, Observation of the flowers)

This tradition dates back to the Edo period, and consists of going on a picnic and watching the cherry blossoms. It occurs in late March and early April. Hanami it literally means “observing the flowers.”

 

Golden Week (ゴ ー ル デ ン ウ ィ ー ク)

The month of April in Japan is an intense year as it is the beginning of the school year for students. This is also when employees typically start their careers, as it is the start of the fiscal year in Japan. So many people decide to take a week to ten days off. These days coincide with a group of festivities that take place at the end of April: Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Green Day (May 4) and Children’s Day (May 5) .

Tanabata

Tanabata (七夕)

This holiday is celebrated on July 7, which commemorates the story of the romance between Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by two stars that come together on this day. People celebrate this day by hanging strips of paper with written wishes on the bamboo stems.

 

Tsukimi (月 見, Observation of the moon)

According to the lunar calendar, the full moon that occurs in the ninth month is known as Chushu no meigetsu (中秋 の 名 月, Moon in mid-autumn) and it became a tradition to hold parties to observe the moon. On this day boiled dumplings are prepared as an offering.

Bounenkai

Bōnenkai (忘年 会, New Year’s Eve parties)

At the beginning of December many end of the year parties are held known as bonenkai. It is a show of appreciation for people’s efforts, and they are organized by both students and employees.

 

Christmas and New Years Eve

Although Christmas is not within the traditional Japanese festivities, they celebrate it with gusto. Many put Christmas pine trees, and children receive gifts. On New Years Eve (Omisoka) Buddhist temples ring the bells 108 times to purify people of earthly desires.