日本 の 一年

Nippon no Ichinen

成人の日/ Coming of Age Day

Seijin no Hi is a national holiday in Japan held on the 2nd Monday of the year and celebrates people who have become 20 years old in the last year. Because people in Japan aren't considered adults until they turn 20, and many cities in Japan hold ceremonies for the Shin Seijin (new adults). Women normally wear long sleeved Kimono's called furisode and men generally wear Kimono's or western suits.

節分/ Seasonal Division

Setsubun is a annual ceremony that happens on the 3rd or 4th of February, depending on the year. It usually consists of throwing roasted beans around ones house chanting: "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!", or: "Bad spirits out, good fourtunes in!" This ceremony is called mamemaki. To have good health for the rest of the year, people generally eat as many beans as their age after throwing the beans.
It is said to be adapted from a ceremony in the 13th century, where they would burn sardine heads, wood and play drums to ward off evil spirits. Though these customs aren't performed much in modern society, many people still decorate their houses with fish heads and holy leaves, in hopes of warding off evil spirits.

雛祭り/ Girl's Day

Hinamatsuri is held on the 3rd of March and is a day to pray for the health and happiness of the young girls in the family. On this day, families put together platforms with the royal court displaying all members. The 1st layer has the Emperor and Empress. The 2nd layer has 3 court ladies each with sake equipment. The 3rd layer has 5 male musicians, and the 4th has 2 ministers. The 5th layer has 3 servants, and the last 2 layers have furniture and tools. Hinamatsuri is not a national holiday.

花見/ Flower Viewing

Hanami occurs during late March and ends around early May. In this time, cherry blossom's and plum blossom's start to bloom, and make for a lovely sight. Many people begin to camp or reserve spots outside the tree's before 8:00am. Some people are made to wait in the one spot for a whole day until their peers arrive after work. At night, more famous places light up the trees so people may appreciate them 24/7. Hanami is traditionaly a picnic under the tree's, it can also be a simple walk in the park.

こどもの日/ Childrens Day

Kodomo no Hi, formerly Boys Day, was declared a national holiday in 1948. It is a holiday not unlike Hinamatsuri, but more to celebrate the younger boys of the household. Carp kites are hung outside the house because parents wish for their boys to become like a carp in a chinese legend who swam upstream and became a dragon. It is held on the 5th day of the 5th month, like how Hinamatsuri is held on the 3rd day of the 3rd month. Family baths on this day also include iris leaves, because they are thought to promote good health.

梅雨/ The Rainy Season

Tsuyu, more commonly referred to as the east asian rainy season, generally occurs from the start of June and ends around mid July. It mostly occurs on the south islands, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. It rarely occurs on the Northen island Hokkaido. Tsubaki, the seasonal flower, grows along the islands. While this time isn't very popular for tourism, many people still choose to enjoy the sights of the Moss Temple and the mountains.

七夕/ Star Festival

Tanabata is one of the most popular festivals in Japan. The stars Vega and Altar both loved each other very much, but, because of Vega's father, they cannot meet. However, magpies agree to help Vega and Altair meet once every year on the seventh day of the seventh month. However, if it is raining, the two lovers will not be helped by the magpies and cannot meet for another year. Children these days tend to write their wishes on colourful paper and hang them on bamboo branches. Most places in Japan will hold proper festivals at shrines, where women will wear yukata and carnivals stalls are open either side of the walkway.

盆/ The Lantern Festival

Obon is a Buddhist custom to celebrate ones past ancestors. It is usually held on the 15th of August and usually entail the family going to the family shrine and praying to their ancestors. As Obon is on in the heat of summer, people generally wear their yukata's to stay cool. People also have to clean their houses and place vegetables and fruits in front of a buddhist altar. Mukaebi fires are lit at the entrance of houses, as to guide spirits back home.

秋分の日/ Autumnal Equinox Day

Shuubun no Hi is a public holiday thats occurs on the 23rd of September every year, though it can be held sooner or later than the 23rd. It is a day to celebrate the dead, or people who have passed away in the last year. Families will go to the family grave and clean the tombstones there. They will also burn incenese sticks and offer food to the deceased. After all of that, they will pray to their ancestors. Though plain rice is more of a traditional offering, now people tend to leave things such as sticky rice with bean paste or soybean powder.

体育の日/ Sports and Health Day

Taiiku no Hi is a national holiday held on the second Monday of October. It celebrates the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and encourages a healthy lifestyle and physical wellbeing in people. It is held in October due to the ideal weather, after the typhoon season and while the skies are clear and blue. Many schools often hold their sport carnivals on this day. Local parks will also hold athetic games; most are balls games.

七五三/ 7 5 3

Shichigosan is a rite of passage that occurs on November the 15th. GIrls who are 7 or 3 and boys who are 5 will visit a Shinto shrine. Girls will wear kimono's and boys wear haori, a jacket that is worn over kimono, and hakama trousers. Centuries ago, children had their hair shaved regularly until the age of three, boys were allowed to wear hakama at the age of 5, and girls first wore obi's at the age of 7. Chitose Ame is also given as a gift to the children from their parents. "Thousand Year Candy" is given as a sign of hope that the children will lead long and good lives.

クリスマス/ Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday, but many people celebrate it, but not for the religion. In Japan, christmas is more of a second Valentines Day, and a time for couples to be together. Many restaurants are fully booked out to couples, and gift exchanges are usually romantic gestures. Japanese Christmas cake is very popular. It consists of two spongecakes set apart by a layer of cream. The top sponge cake is topped with cream and strawberries. Fried chicken has been considered a Japanese Christmas food since the 1970's by a clever advertisment KFC made.