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Thread: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

  1. #1
    MangaHelper 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity Asarii's Avatar
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    Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    January 1st: New Year's Day (Ganjitsu 元日)
    Second Monday of January: Coming of Age Day (Seijin no hi 成人の日)

    February 3rd: Division of Season (Setsubun 節分)
    February 11: National Foundation Day (Kenkokukinen no hi 建国記念の日)
    February 14th: Valentine's Day

    March 3rd: Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri ひなまつり)
    March 14th: White Day
    Around March 20th: Vernal Equinox Day (Shunbun no hi 春分の日)
    Late March to early April: Flower Viewing (Hanami 花見)

    April 29th: Shōwa Day (Shouwa no hi 昭和の日)

    May 3rd: Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpoukinenbi 憲法記念日)
    May 4th: Greenery Day (Midori no hi みどりの日)
    May 5th: Children's Day (Kodomo no hi こどもの日)
    *Golden Week

    July 7th: Star Festival (Tanabata 七夕)
    Third Monday of July: Marine Day (Umi no hi 海の日)

    Third Monday of September: Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Keirou no hi 敬老の日)
    Around September 23rd: Autumnal Equinox Day (Shuubun no hi 秋分の日)

    Second Monday of October: Health and Sports Day (Taiiku no hi 体育の日)

    November 3rd: Culture Day (Bunka no hi 文化の日)
    November 15th: Festival for three, five, and seven year olds (Shichi-go-san 七五三)
    November 23rd: Labour Day (Kinrou kansha no hi 勤労感謝の日)

    December 23rd: The Emperor's Birthday (Tennou tanjyoubi 天皇誕生日)
    December 25th: Christmas
    December 31st: New Year's Eve (Ōmisoka 大晦日)

    It's almost Hinamatsuri at the time of this post so I thought it would be nice to create a thread to share trivia or our experiences about Japanese holidays & festivals. Even though my family lives in Canada, we still celebrate the festivals at home to keep in touch with our roots. I'll post photos and talk about what happens during those dates.

    Black - A holiday.
    Purple - A festival.
    Blue - A mixture of the two where you get a day off and partake in a tradition.
    Green - A recent event.


    Depending on where you are in the world today is March 3rd, which means that it's Hinamatsuri (ひな祭り). It's a tradition to honor girls who wear a kinomo on this special occasion. Chirashizushi and kai no osumashi (clear soup with clam) are eaten; confectionaries (hishi or sakura mochi are common) are given to the dolls. Of course they're eaten by people afterwards!

    Here's a small tidbit about its history.
    Quote Originally Posted by http://japanese.about.com/
    The origin of Hinamatsuri is an ancient Chinese practice in which the sin of the body and misfortune are transferred to a doll, and then removed by abandoning the doll on a river. A custom called "hina-okuri" or "nagashi-bina," in which people float paper dolls down rivers late on the afternoon of March 3rd, still exists in various areas.
    Most households will have the two main dolls (the emperor and empress), but traditional places will go out and have thirteen with various accessories.

    Here's a traditional song that can be heard every year.

    These are the dolls I had since I was four months old.

    Spoiler show


    Spoiler show


    Spoiler show


    Most of the female dolls have cropped (?) hair so what I love about my doll is that her hair is long. One year I took off the white paper, but my mom got mad at me so now it's asymmetrical. XD
    Last edited by Asarii; March 03, 2011 at 01:00 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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  3. #2
    Registered User MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted k-dom's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    I was in Japan during sport day and we encountered some of the student playing sports in a gymnasium of Tokyo. Going to school on a day off, only japanese can think that way :-)
    In our way to a temple we also crossed a little girl (3/4 years old) dressed in kimono. I think I have read it's an iportant family event but I forgot what it is

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by k-dom View Post
    I was in Japan during sport day and we encountered some of the student playing sports in a gymnasium of Tokyo. Going to school on a day off, only japanese can think that way :-)
    At least the building was still open for the students to use! They might be in one of the sports teams at their school. Usually student athletes are really dedicated and never miss a day to practice.

    Quote Quote:
    In our way to a temple we also crossed a little girl (3/4 years old) dressed in kimono. I think I have read it's an iportant family event but I forgot what it is
    It's most likely Shichi-go-san , which is celebrated when a child is three years old.

    From your observations it looks as if you went to Japan during autumn.

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    Registered User MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted k-dom's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post
    At least the building was still open for the students to use! They might be in one of the sports teams at their school. Usually student athletes are really dedicated and never miss a day to practice.
    I thought I could upload some photos we made
    Spoiler: Taiikunohi sport day show

    Quote Quote:
    It's most likely Shichi-go-san , which is celebrated when a child is three years old.
    Indeed that was surely that
    Spoiler show

    Quote Quote:
    From your observations it looks as if you went to Japan during autumn.
    Yes the last 3 weeks of october, that was really nice holiday. The last events pained me quite a lot since I spent so god time there.
    Now that I remind it we also encountered some parade, one in Kyoto on the Arashiyama bridge and one in the Todaiji temple in Nara (I think we were quite lucky with this one). But I'm not sure they were yearly event.
    Spoiler: Todaiji temple show


    But we didn't see festivals like we see in manga with the wood shop and people dressed in kimono. But I guess we didn't really search for it.
    Anyway I'm looking forward your next posts.

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Asari-chan,

    Your dolls are very pretty! (I'm from Kansai area, so my dolls are placed in reverse - empress on your left and emperor your the right.) I hope you have put away your hina dolls already. You know what they say: You won't be able to get married if you keep hina dolls out too long after March 3rd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asarii View Post

    Most households will have the two main dolls (the emperor and empress), but traditional places will go out and have thirteen with various accessories.

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Thank you, mikkih-san! Perhaps next year I could see your hina dolls as well.

    I never knew that the placements of dolls are different based on where you live. My mom is from Tokyo so that's probably why the empress is on the right.

    Don't worry, I managed to put away my dolls soon afterwards.

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    端午の節句 (Tango no Sekku / The classic Boys' Festival, currently called Children's Day) is approaching near, but I still display my hina-dolls. I suggested you to put them away, but I still proudly display them. lol Anyway, since I was not a boy, I don't remember celebrating anything particular on May 5th growing up. How about you, Asari-chan?

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by mikkih View Post
    端午の節句 (Tango no Sekku / The classic Boys' Festival, currently called Children's Day) is approaching near, but I still display my hina-dolls. I suggested you to put them away, but I still proudly display them. lol Anyway, since I was not a boy, I don't remember celebrating anything particular on May 5th growing up. How about you, Asari-chan?
    I have a younger brother so my family also sets up the kabuto armor and koinobori (at home though). This year we haven't gotten around to displaying it yet because my house is undergoing renovation- don't want it to break!

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.tokyotopia.com/kodomo-no-hi.html
    Traditionally this was Boys' Day in Japan, but in 1948 it's name was changed to Childrens' Day to reflect the politically correct thinking of the time.

    Despite this change, however, many Japanese still consider it to be Boy's Day. The traditional activities that are practiced on this day, honor the male children in the family in the same way as they have done for centuries.

    [...]

    Kodomo no Hi is best symbolized by the strings of koi carp you will see hanging from house windows, outside shops, and in the countryside, strung out over rivers.

    Why koi carp? There are traditional stories that tell of the strength, stamina and drive of the carp as it swims upstream, against the flow of the river current.

    It is this concept that Koi Nobori, koi carp streamers, represent. They are an expression of the family wish that their male children will grow strong and be able to successfully face the challenges that life will bring.

    In Japanese culture, boys are still very much critical to the workings of society. Not in a sexist way as it is often perceived, but in a traditional system of roles. This is why Kodomo no Hi, or Boys' Day, is considered to be so important.

    It is the long-established job of the elder son to take care of his parents once they reach a certain age. This does not mean the odd visit or dropping by to say hello. The son will move into the family home with his own family and take on the role of his father before him.
    Here's an example of koinobori in Rikusentakada-shi. The city was severely damaged by the earthquake so hopefully the koinobori will offer hope for all children who are affected.

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    Registered User MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted k-dom's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Is my understanding correct that there is no girl's day ?

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by k-dom View Post
    Is my understanding correct that there is no girl's day ?
    In old days, Hina matsuri (Doll Festival, March 3rd) was for girls, and Tango no sekku (May 5th) was for boys. The Children's Day (May 5th) is now an official national holiday, but girls still celebrate on March 3rd, and boys do so on May 5th.

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    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner Roark's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    I'd like to celibrate coming of age day :]

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by Roark View Post
    I'd like to celibrate coming of age day :]
    How old are you? If you're turning twenty this year, you'll be able to celebrate the Coming of Age day in 2012. That's the year people in my age will celebrate.

  17. #13
    murasakii23
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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Thanks for this thread guys! I have to do a project for school (my Japanese elective) about a festival and this list is so much better than Wikipedia :P

    I remember the koinoboi! I used to love them :P

    And a q: I can't remember this festival we used to have at my Japanese school when I was little where we threw popcorn-thingys at a demon (oni and then it ran away. What is it called?

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    You're welcome, murasakii23! June is a slow month for Japanese festivals and holidays, but please keep this thread updated.

    Quote Originally Posted by murasakii23 View Post
    And a q: I can't remember this festival we used to have at my Japanese school when I was little where we threw popcorn-thingys at a demon (oni and then it ran away. What is it called?
    The festival you described is called Setsubun, which is celebrated in February. The popcorn-thing you described was probably dried beans- you eat the amount equal to your age.

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    Re: Japanese Festivals & Holidays

    Quote Originally Posted by murasakii23 View Post
    And a q: I can't remember this festival we used to have at my Japanese school when I was little where we threw popcorn-thingys at a demon (oni and then it ran away. What is it called?
    It's funny. I think you are talking about Setsubun (節分), but they throw roasted soybeans instead in Japan. This is what they say: 「鬼は外、福は内」(Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi/ Demons out, happiness in.)


    @Asari, you beat me while I was afk lol

    Moderator message by: Asarii
    Ha ha, it's all right!
    Last edited by Asarii; May 28, 2011 at 08:00 PM.

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