What are your traditional Labor Day activities

Embassy of Japan in Germany
在 ド イ ツ 日本国 大使館




Feature - Japanese Holidays in November


With November, autumn has arrived in Japan: the color of the leaves - especially the bright red of the maple leaves - draws people to the parks or the surrounding mountains on weekends.

November nicely offers an additional day off at the beginning and at the end: on November 3rd. the "Day of Culture" (Bunka no Hi) and on 11/23 the "day of thanks for work" (Kinrô Kansha no Hi).

The current constitution was promulgated on November 3rd, 1946, two years later the day became a national holiday to promote the ideals of the constitution, the love of peace and freedom, through cultural activities. However, there is another national holiday on the occasion of the Constitution and that is on May 3rd, "Constitution Day" (Kempô Kinembi) because it came into force on May 3rd, 1947.

In the Imperial Palace in Tôkyô, the Tennô hands over the order of culture to people who have made a name for themselves in the fields of culture, art or science. Festivals and various activities are held in the cities and municipalities, and citizen groups and associations introduce themselves.

Also the "Day of Thanks for Work" (Kinrô Kansha no Hi) on November 23 has existed as a national holiday since 1948 to show gratitude for the work of others and the fruits of their labor. It's a modern festival for the old harvest festival "Niinamesai"(Tasting the new rice), a Shinto ritual in which the emperor sacrifices the freshly harvested rice to the gods (in the first year after accession to the throne as"Daijôsai"=" Big expense "celebrated). The first reference to this ceremony can be found in the Nihon Shoki of the Japanese Chronicle of 720. According to this, it is said to have been held in November 678. But the origin is suspected much earlier. On the 23.11. the ritual was laid during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and soon celebrated nationwide.

After the Second World War, the national holiday was recreated to celebrate the extended rights for the workers, whereas Niinamesai is only celebrated as a private function of the imperial family. On this day, various festivals are organized, in particular by workers' organizations on the subjects of peace, human rights and the environment.

In mid-November, however, there is still a traditional festival day - however, it is not work-free: on November 15, 3-year-old boys and girls, 5-year-old boys, and 7-year-old girls with the "Shichi-go-sanOn a Sunday around this date, parents and their children of the appropriate age visit a shrine to pray for their healthy upbringing. The girls wear colorful kimono, the boys traditional haori-Jackets and wide hakama-Pants.

The significance of these age groups dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time, in aristocratic and samurai families, children aged 3 and over were allowed to grow their hair that had been shaved up until then. Boys wore for the first time when they were 5 hakama-Pants in public, and girls of 7 got oneobi-Belts instead of cords for your kimono. In the Edo period (1603-1868), middle-class people also began to dress up their children at this age and visit shrines to have priests read prayers for their offspring.

The current custom dates from the end of the 19th century, with November 15th being selected as the particularly auspicious day. After visiting the shrine, the children were welcomed chitose-ame Bought "1000 Year Candy Canes" for a long life. Cranes and turtles, which also stand for a long life, were depicted on the bag.

Would you like to see the children in traditional clothing with your own eyes? Photography allowed!
For travel information, contact the
Japanese tourism organization in Frankfurt.

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