In Japan, the last days of April do not only mark the time of the year when the temperature is arguably at its best for excursions; the calendar also tells us it’s vacation time! It’s GOLDEN WEEK!
“Golden Week” (ゴールデンウィーク) is what Japanese people call a certain period of the year, within which, four national holidays are contained: the Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children’s Day. Within this period, many workers return to their hometowns or take time to travel elsewhere.
Now let’s learn a bit more about these four holidays:
The Showa Day is a national holiday that honors the birthday of the late Showa Emperor Hirohito, who was the Emperor of Japan from 1929 to 1986. The holiday is meant to bring Japan to reflect on the late emperor’s reign – one that witnessed many important events in the history of the nation.
Prior to Emperor Hirohito’s death, Japan celebrated the 29th of April as Tennou Tanjoubi (emperor’s birthday).
Japanese notation: 昭和の日 – Showa No Hi
Constitution Memorial Day celebrates the promulgation of the Japanese Constitution in 1947. This holiday is a day of reflection on the meaning of Japan’s post-war democracy.
Japanese notation: 憲法記念日 – Kenpou Kinenbi
Since 2007, the 4th of May is celebrated as the Greenery Day. It is a day to celebrate nature and to be thankful for all the blessings. Greenery Day was celebrated at the 29th of every year from 1989 to 2006, as it originated from the celebration of Emperor Showa’s birthday, in honor of the late emperor’s appreciation of nature.
Japanese notation: みどりの日 – Midori No Hi
Children’s Day pays respect to children and celebrates their innate happiness. This holiday was originally called Boys’ Day and a separate Girls” Day was celebrated every 3rd of March. Koinobori flags (carp-shaped ornaments) are hung days before the Children’s day, as symbols of good future both in health and wealth.
Japanese notation: 子供の日 – Kodomo No Hi