Jisho: Festivals & Traditions
See also Kids Web Japan, TV Tropes, or Wikipedia.
- Kekkon Wedding. Kekkon kinenbi means wedding anniversary.
- Kinenbi Holiday, anniversary, memorial day.
- Matsuri Festival. See Wikipedia.
- Sekku Seasonal festival, a tradition originating in China. In Japan, there are five annual sekku. See a list of them here (you don't have to buy any pens, or anything).
- Sotsugyou Graduation.
- Tanjoubi Birthday.
- Yasumi Vacation.
- Haru Spring.
- Natsu Summer.
- Aki Autumn.
- Fuyu Winter.
- Shogatsu or Oshogatsu, January 1-3, which celebrates the new year, is the most important holiday in Japan. It is one of the five great sekku each year. See Japan Guide, About.com, or Wikipedia. Akemashite omedetou!
- Seijin no Hi is "Coming of Age Day," celebrated the second Monday of January in Japan. All people who will turn 20 during the current school year (March to April) are celebrated on this day. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia or Everything2.
- Setsubun marks the change from winter to spring, and happens on the day before the first day of Spring in Japan. (Since that can fall on February 4 or 5, Setsubun can fall on Feb. 3 or 4.) There is a mame-maki ceremony, which involves throwing soybeans out the door to ward off demons. Then everyone eats a number of soybeans equal to their age. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Kenkoku-kinenbi is National Foundation Day in Japan, observed on February 11. See Kids Web Japan.
- Barentain dei Valentine's Day, celebrated February 14, when women give gifts of chocolate to men. This is followed a month later by White Day, when men reciprocate. See Kids Web Japan or Everything2.
- Hina Matsuri Doll Festival or Girl's Day, celebrated on March 3 in Japan. It is also called Hina no Sekku or Momo no Sekku, the latter of which means "peach festival," one of Japan's five great sekku each year. See About.com, Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Howaito dei White Day, celebrated March 14 in Japan. Equivalent to Valentine's Day, but men give gifts of chocolate to women. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Shunbun no Hi Vernal Equinox Day, celebrated March 20 or 21 in Japan. See Kids Web Japan. It's also called Higan no Chu-Nichi, as is the Autumnal Equinox.
- Hanami Flower viewing. Most often refers specifically to cherry blossoms (sakura), so you might also see it called sakura matsuri. It takes place mostly in April, but can begin in late March and go through mid-May. Hanami parties can last well into the evening, at which point it is called yozakura. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Hana Matsuri Flower Festival, celebrated April 8 as Buddha's birthday, or Kambutsu-e. See Kids Web Japan.
- Showa Day April 29, the birthday of Emperor Hirohito, also called Showa, named after the period of his reign. This day was formerly also known as "Greenery Day," which has moved to May 4. Showa Day is the first day of Golden Week. See Kids Web Japan or Wikipedia.
- Golden Week April 29-May 5. See Japan Guide, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Kenpou-kinenbi is Constitution Memorial Day in Japan, celebrating the constitution that went into effect May 3, 1947. See Kids Web Japan.
- Midori no Hi Greenery Day, May 4, a day to appreciate nature. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Kodomo no Hi is Children's Day in Japan, celebrated on May 5. It is also traditionally called Tango no Sekku, which is the "boy's festival," one of Japan's five great sekku each year. Read See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2. It is the last day of Golden Week.
- Tanabata is the Star Festival, which is based on a Chinese legend about separated lovers (stars Vega and Altair). It may be celebrated July 7, according to the Julian calendar; or August 7, according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. See Kids Web Japan, TV Tropes, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Bon or Obon The Festival of the Dead, a Buddhist ritual which is observed over several days in Japan in the middle of the seventh month of the year. This means it may be celebrated in July, according to the Julian calendar, though it is more traditionally celebrated in August, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. On the final night of Obon, the toro-nagashi ceremony takes place, wherein people float paper lanterns called chouchin (see stuff page) down a river, to signify the return of the spirits of the dead to the other world. See Runker Room, Kids Web Japan, or Wikipedia.
- Tanabata (see July)
- Obon (see July)
- Keirou no hi is Respect for the Aged Day, celebrated on the third Monday in September in Japan. See Kids Web Japan or Wikipedia.
- Shuubun no hi is Autumnal Equinox Day, celebrated Sept. 23 or 24 in Japan. See Kids Web Japan. It's also called Higan no Chu-Nichi, as is the Vernal Equinox.
- Bunka no Hi is Culture Day, celebrated Nov. 3 in Japan. See Kids Web Japan.
- Shichi-go-san means seven-five-three, and it is occurs November 15 in Japan. It celebrates the growth of children: boys and girls aged 3, boys aged 5, and girls aged 7. See Kids Web Japan, Wikipedia, or Everything2.
- Kinro Kansha no Hi is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan, celebrated Nov. 23. See Kids Web Japan.
- Kurisumasu is the Japanese approximation of the word "Christmas." Celebrated Dec. 24-25. See Japan Guide. And let me know if you find any substantially better links....
- Omisoka is New Year's Eve, December 31. It is, of course, the day before Shogatsu, which is the most important holiday in Japan. See Kids Web Japan, About.com, or Wikipedia. Yoi otoshi o!