Japanese Holidays & Special Days

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Japanese Holidays & Special Days

Today, some of the biggest of Japan’s special days are imported from the West. These holidays have developed a Japanese spin to them sometimes losing sight of the original intentions. Not to say Japan doesn’t have traditional holidays – most holidays are Japanese – but these western ones have become very prominent these days.

Although Japan has only a small Christian population. Christmas is very popular in Japan. However, it is not a religious holiday nor is giving gifts an important part of the celebration. Christmas is the second biggest and most important day for couples to spend together. Oddly enough, Eating American style Fried Chicken is the traditional food to eat. Why I don’t know.

Valentine’s Day
The biggest couples day and the biggest day to confess one’s love. In Japan, the girl, not the boy, gives chocolate to confess her feelings for a guy. The chocolate is not a chocolate bar but instead more often than not it is a chocolate cookie or cake – usually, hand made but can be store bought. In addition to giving chocolate to her crush, a girl will also give a number of ‘polite chocolate to the male people around her. This gives is not to show love but instead to show thoughtfulness and thanks. A month later is a white day where the guys give the girls a gift in return, something about the same value.

Halloween is now the biggest Cosplay day of the year. Certain places get so packed it looks like Times Square NY on New Year’s Eve. It is also an adult/teen celebration more than a kids day. People don’t usually go trick or treating – they go hang out at key parts of the city. Some go to parties but it is the huge crowed streets that attract most people.

Summer Fireworks Omatsuri
Omatsuri festival varies in time with each place but generally, there is a summer festival everywhere complete with Firework show. Probably what makes these festivals special is that many girls wear tradition Yukata kimonos. These are the light colored cotton kimonos that look so cute on young Japanese ladies.

Oshogatsu(New Years)
This is the most Japanese-ish holiday and the biggest one too. People spend the day paying their respect to bosses and mentors as well as going to the shrine/temple and pray for a safe good year ahead. In the days before new years, everything is cleaned up even the workplace. On new years eve, everyone eats special noodles called toshikoshi Soba while on New Year’s day, everyone eats ozoni(a mochi soup) and special bento like food called Osechiryori.

Boys day and Girls Day
Not much is done on these days yet everyone participates on them. On boys day a special Carp flag is flown at the house called a Koinobori. Also, a special mochi called Kashiwa mochi is eaten. On girls day an elaborate dolls display is set up and a special Sakura Mochi is served. Beyond this, nothing special is done on these days.

Golden Week
I don’t know exactly what this is but for some reason, people get the week between April and May off work. A lot of people take the opportunity to go on vacation while it is a huge selling time for companies and TV. Special TV programs run during this time such as 24-hour variety programming.



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josh avatar
4 years ago

do you guys celebrate your ww2 veterans or soldiers like we do?

emperor day? ancestral day?  

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