Japanese Festivals & Annual Events Some of the main events, festivals & holidays held throughout the year in Japan.
Japanese Festivals & Annual Events Children’s Day Cherry Blossom Watching Coming-of-Age Day New Year
Festivals in your Country What are the main festivals in Ireland? St. Patrick’s Day Easter Halloween Christmas
Some Japanese National Holidays & Festivals • New Year’s Day: Gantan or O-Shogatsu • Coming-of-Age Day: Seijin No Hi • Valentine's Day & White Day • Girl’s Day: Hina Matsuri • Cherry Blossom Viewing: Hanami • Children’s Day: Kodomo no Hi • Shichi-Go-San
O-Shogatsu/New Year • O-Shogatsu is the most important festival in the year. • Most places close from Dec 29-Jan 3. Jan 1st is called Gantan. • Millions of people return to their family homes for the celebrations. • People send each other postcards known as Nengajou. • Houses are decorated with special decorations, and food is prepared & stored in lacquer boxes. • People visit Shrines to give thanks for the year and to pray for a good new year. • Children get money presents known as O-toshidama. Kadomatsu Hatsumode
Seijin no Hi/Coming-of-Age Day • It is held on the second Monday of January. • It is for people who turned 20 in the previous year. • The legal age to drink and vote in Japan is 20. • Ceremonies are held at the local government offices. • Girls dress in elaborate kimono called furisode. • Boys wear traditional kimono called hakama or suits. • Everyone goes out to party after the ceremonies.
Valentines Day & White Day • On Valentines Day, Feb 14th, women give men (teachers, colleagues, friends) chocolates in Japan! • Chocolates given to men at work are called Giri-Choco (obligation chocolate). • Younger people have adopted the Western approach and often book expensive meals and give their boyfriend/girlfriend presents. • White Day is held on March 14th. • It is the mans turn to give women presents of white chocolate, biscuits, jewellery, and lingerie. • The white day present is usually more expensive than the Valentine’s present.
Hina Matsuri: Girl’s Day • Held on March 3rd, it is known as Girl’s Day or Doll’s Festival. • Families with girls set up a selection of dolls Hina-ningyou on a red platform around mid-February. The top 2 dolls are the Emperor & Empress. • Special sweets, cakes, rice crackers, and sushi are eaten, and sweet sake is drunk.
Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing • Hanami means flower watching but it occurs when the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom around late March to early April. • People gather in parks under trees or by river banks to have picnics. • They often bring karaoke machines & sing & dance until late. • There is quite a bit of competition to get the best places under the most beautiful trees.
Kodomo No Hi/Children’s Day • Held on May 5th, this is a national holiday. • It was traditionally called Boy’s Day. • Decorations include Koi (carp) Streamers and samurai helmets and dolls. These symbolise strength, success, and power.
Obon • Traditionally held in mid-July, though some areas have Obon in August. It is 2nd biggest event after New Year. • Most people return to their family homes during this time. • At Obon it is said that spirits of dead ancestors return to their homes. • People clean their relative’s graves & light a path to the house.
Summer Festivals Hanabi/Fireworks Girls in Yukata Taiko Drummers Yakisoba/Fried Noodles
Shichi-Go-San • Shichi-go-san is a festival for children of 7yrs(girls), 5yrs (boys) and 3yrs (mainly girls). • Held on November 15th. • Children are dressed in kimono and brought to a Shrine to pray. • They receive Chitose Ameliterally "thousand year candy", on Shichi-Go-San. It is long, thin, red and white and it symbolizes healthy growth and longevity. It is given in a bag with a crane and a turtle on it, which represent long life in Japan.