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A group of young people in formal suits and kimono gather together.
Public Holidays
  1. New Year's Day or Shōgatsu (January 1)
  2. Coming-of-Age Day (second Monday in January)
  3. National Foundation Day or Kigensetsu (February 11)
  4. Spring Equinox Day or Vernal Equinox (March)
  5. Golden Week (Late April-Early May)
  6. Marine Day (Third Monday in July)
  7. Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Third Monday in September)
  8. Autumnal Equinox Day (September)
  9. Culture Day (November 3)
  10. Labor Thanksgiving Day (November 23)
  11. Emperor’s Birthday (December 23)
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Colorful flowers in front of stone markers at a temple
Many people bring fresh spring flowers when visiting cemeteries on or around the Vernal Equinox.
Photo Courtesy of Dairin Temple.
Spring Equinox Day or Vernal Equinox (March)
Days when the hours of daylight and dark are almost equal occur twice a year. Spring Equinox Day celebrates one of these two days. The Japanese Holiday Law defines Spring Equinox Day to be a day for people to “appreciate nature and living creatures.” “Equinox” is a term used in astronomy to refer to the two times a year when the sun’s path crosses the plane of the earth’s equator. In spring, this is the vernal equinox; in fall, it is the autumnal equinox. Because our calendar does not quite match the solar year, but has to be adjusted every four years with a leap year, Spring Equinox Day is not on the same date every year. The date of Spring Equinox Day holiday in Japan is decided according to the calendar of the National Astronomical Observatory in February of the previous year. Spring Equinox Days usually fall around March 20th. In Buddhism, the week including the three days before and after the vernal equinox is called Spring Higan. During these seven days, families worship their ancestors and pay respect at their family graves.
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