Japan is an innovative country. It celebrates so many holidays in a year, both traditional and new. Every year, new holiday observances are introduced which add rhythm to their culture. There is even a list of made-up ones which are known as “faux-lidays” or “kinenbi (記念日)” in Japanese. These are celebrations of certain events that may seem odd in nature and are usually products of a clever play on words. There are many faux-lidays in the country, but here are three of them.
Most Japanese are very conscious of their health, but during “Meat Day,” they forget about their diet. This is a special day for people to eat different kinds of meat. It is celebrated on the 9th of February.
The origin of this faux-liday is not clearly stated. Some people believe that it began from meat lovers, while others say from meat producers. The day is marked by meat-eating extravaganza – several restaurants advertise meat discounts and supermarket chains offer half-price deals for meat. This informal holiday reflects the increase in people’s carnivorous appetite, which is clearly seen in the strength of meat imports.
Cat Day is known as “Neko no Hi” in Japan. It is celebrated on the 22nd of February. The date was chosen due to the numerals 2/22, which is read as “ni ni ni” in Japanese. It sounded similar to the sound cats make, thus the creation of the informal holiday. For some, they call it “Nyan Nyan Nyan Day.” In Japan, “nyan” is equivalent to “meow.”
If you’re a cat person, you are surely going to love this day as shops are overloaded with cat-themed foods such as cat-shaped biscuits, cakes, and doughnuts. There are also several cat manga on display. Different cat cafes are packed with people and cat associations hold special events to commemorate the existence of the little creatures. Many people also show their cat pictures and videos on the Internet during this day.
Natto is a popular dish in the eastern part of Japan. It is a traditional food made from fermented soybeans and is usually consumed for breakfast as it is simple to prepare yet provides a complex flavor. However, many foreign people think that it is one of Japan’s strangest foods.
There is actually a day to celebrate this food and it is called “Natto Day.” It is done on the 10th of July as the numbers in Japanese make a pun with the word “natto.” This is probably the best day to eat natto which can be cooked in different styles. Some people eat natto sushi, natto fried rice, natto omelette, and many more!
Japan is a country full of oddities. If you’re interested in Japanese holidays, do mark these three popular faux-lidays in your calendar as well. You’ll get to know Japanese culture more if you get in touch with their unique celebrations. Remember, this is only in Japan! You don’t get to do this in other countries so go on and join in the fun.