KJ200610: Enjoyment of Japanese Seasonal Events

Times when the holidays overlap are, for Japanese people, points where they can particularly feel the turning of the seasons.

New Year’s: 1st January
Celebrate the first day of the new year. At the start of the new year, Japanese people eat o-zouni(new year’s rice cakes boiled with vegetables)and visit their local temples or shrines to
pray for a trouble-free year and make new year’s resolutions. New Year cards called nengajjou are sent to all of one’s acquaintances, it is most polite to send them so that they arrive by January 1st.

Bean Throwing Night: Around 3rd February(the last day of winter)
Exorcise bad humours, pray for health and, by throwing beans, keep the demons away and get good luck!

Valentine’s Day: 14th February
Girls give chocolates to boys they like. This favour is returned on White Day (March14th).

Doll Festival: 3rd March
A seasonal event to pray for girls’ long lives and happiness. Displays of dolls are decorated with peach flowers, mochi and sweet white sake.

O-Hanami: Viewing blossoming cherry trees in April.
Japanese people spread out large picnic blankets under the cherry trees and celebrate the turning of the seasons with food and drink.

Boy’s Festival: 5th May
People eat chimaki and mochi wrapped in oak leaves and bathe in bath water with iris petals. Households with male children decorate their homes with carp-shaped streamers.

Star Festival: 7th July
A festival for the stars dating back to ancient China where it was said that only on this night would the two lovers’ constellations, Vega and Altai meet. People still go out on this night to gaze at the milky way and the two lovers. People write wishes on small pieces of coloured card and decorate bamboo trees with them.

O-Bon Festival: 13th~16th August
Already mentioned above.

Moon-viewing Festival: mid-September
Enjoy viewing the full moon while offering dumplings, sasaki plants and seasonal fruits to it.

Seven-Five-Three Festival: November15th
Prayers for children’s healthy growth. Children(boys age 3 and 5, girls age 3 and 7)dress in their finest and visit shrines to pray with their parents. The children receive chitose hard candy.

Christmas: December 25th
On Christmas eve’, one sends presents to one’s lover, friends, and family, and
everyone enjoys a meal together.

New Year’s Eve: December 31st
The new year is ushered in by thoroughly cleaning the house, welcoming home those who have moved far away, and eating special new year’s cuisine such as long-life soba. At midnight, temples ring their bells108times.


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This page was written by i-pal for 1, 2006 3:36 .

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