Get to know Shig Sato – Holidays in Japan

Japan has many holidays – but is there a holiday like Thanksgiving? No, not exactly.

But there is a holiday called “Labor Thanksgiving Day” (Kinro-kansha-no-hi) and it is celebrated November 23! It has a similar meaning – a fall harvest festival – and in 1948 it became “a holiday to honor labor, celebrate manufacturing, and give thanks to one another.” Check out this blog from Japanese Language Blog.

The two really big holidays are New Year’s Day (Ganjitsu) and Golden Week. New Year’s is like Christmas, New Year’s and the Forth of July all rolled into one long holiday – many shops and stores are closed for several days beyond January 1. Hundreds of thousands trek to temples to ring in the new year at midnight. One of the great traditions is the ‘forgetting party’ (bonenkai parties) – held for the purpose of leaving behind the old year’s worries and troubles. Here is some more information from Japan Guide. Another big celebration is Coming of Age day, held on the second Monday of January. It is held to congratulate and encourage those who have reached age 20, the age of majority

Monks ring the bell 108 times – 107 times on Dec. 31, 1 time on Jan.,1


But one of the biggest holidays is not a holiday but many put together. Golden week is longer than one week, depending on the calendar and when certain days fall. Usually it is April 29-May 8. It combines May 3, Constitution Day, the new constitution put in place in 1947; May 4, Greenery Day, celebrating nature and the environment; May 5, Children’s Day, when family’s celebrate health and happiness of their children. Some holiday’s are traditional festivals and not national holidays, such as  Girl’s Day – (Hina Matsuri), also known as Doll’s Day, is March 3. Families pray for the health and happiness of their daughters. They also put on display their collection of Hina dolls.

Hina dolls on display.

Bon is not one day, but many. Typically references with the honorific o-, o-ban is a Buddhist event for commemorating one’s ancestors. Although dates vary, it is usually in August, and it is believed that ancestors return to this world to visit their relatives. Graves are visited, food offerings at made at home altars and at temples, bonfires and dances are held, and at the end, lanterns are placed in rivers and lakes and other bodies of water to guide the spirits back to their world.

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Illuminated lanterns guide spirits at the conclusion of o-bon.

41BihmTO1ILCat’s Meow is Book 4 in the Shig Sato Mystery Series. In a race against time to find a killer before he strikes again, a case from Shig’s past propels him to solve the crime spree. Don miss it! Just click. And don’t forget: if you’re reading this on your cell phone or tablet, keep scrolling down. You’ll find the Shig Sato Mysteries down there. If you’re reading this on your home computer, you’ll find them on the right. And if you haven’t signed up for the Shig Sato Readers Club, you can do that here. You’ll get a copy of the thrilling Shig Sato prequel Tokyo summer, and once in a while I’ll share what’s happening with Shig, offer great deals in mysteries and thrillers from my author friends, and announce when the next mystery will come along. Don’t miss out. Just click here to enter the World of Shig Sato.


One thought on “Get to know Shig Sato – Holidays in Japan

  1. Lizzi Newton November 25, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    This was very interesting. I enjoy the Shig Sato books and this gives me great insight into his culture.


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