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January 1-3: New Year (o-shogatsu)- New Years day is Japan’s most important festival. The objective of the ceremonies over three days is to eliminate all the bad fortune and bring good fortune in the next year.
2nd Monday of January: Coming-of-Age Day (seijin-no-hi)- This holiday honors people who became 20 years old. According to the Japanese Civil Code, 20 years old is the attainment of adulthood.
February 3: Bean-Throwing Ceremony- This ceremony involves the custom of scattering soybeans around to drive out demons and to bring good fortune.
February 11: National Founding Day (kenkoku-kinenbi)- Commemorates the enthronement of Japan’s first emperor, Jimmu.
February 14: valentine’s Day (pronounced barentain dei)- On Valentine’s Day, girls give chocolates to boys that they admire.
March 3: Girl’s Festival (momo-no-sekku)- This festival is for girls where families set up an arrangement of female dolls. The food also include sake and mochi to celebrate.
March 14: White Day- The special day where boys give chocolate and candy to girls. It is the opposite of Valentine’s Day.
March 21: Vernal Equinox Day (shumbun-no-hi)- This holiday, which is celebrated at the spring equinox, is a seven-day Buddhist memorial service that is marked by visits to family graves and family reunions.
April 8: Buddha’s birthday festival (hans matsuri)- This festival commemorates the birthday of Buddha. The statue of Buddha is anointed with special tea for the ceremony of his birthday.
April 29: Greenery Day (midori-no-hi)- This holiday commemorates the birthday celebration of Emperor Showa. Showa was a nature man, so therefore, this holiday is an appreciation of nature.
May 3: Constitution Memorial Day (kempo-kinembi)- In memory of the 1947 Constitution of Japan, this holiday celebrates hope in the growth of the nation.
July 7: Star Festival (tanabata)- The Star Festival is held on July 7 according to thee lunar calendar, but some major festivals are held on August 8. Families hang tanka and haiku poetry on bamboo trees.
August 15: Festival of Souls (o-bon)- This day on the lunar calendar is considered as the day when ancestors’ souls return to this world to visit. The custom of this day is to visit family graves, watch bon-odori dances to welcome ancestors’ souls, and send of ancestors’ souls in shoro-nagashi, or paper boats, down the rivers to the sea.
Mid-September: Moon Festival (tsukimi)- The “harvest moon” is considered to be the most auspicious moon of the year. Families making susuki arrangements and eating tsukimi-dangin while viewing the moon is how this wonderful day is celebrated.
September 23: Autumnal Equinox Day (shubun-no-hi)- On this day of seven-day Buddhist memorial service, family reunions and visits to gravesites are some important.
November 23: Labor Thanksgiving Day (kinro-kansha-no-hi)- On this day, people show gratitude for others labor throughout the year.
December 25: Christmas (pronounced kurisumasu)- Not a national holiday, since most Japanese people are Buddhist.