Japanese Days of the Week and Holidays
When you learn the Japanese days of the week, you get this charming sense of nature and that stirs your imagination makes you think of simpler times. Things seem so far and distant from they hyper-efficient and technologically sophisticated culture you would find in a place like Tokyo today.
Below is a list of the Japanese Days of the week:
The Kanji characters “曜日” can be translated to mean “days of the week” with “曜” meaning “sunlight” and “日” meaning day.
Much of the meaning in the Japanese days of the week comes from Chinese culture, from which much of Japanese culture was influenced by.
The Japanese days of the week for Sunday and Monday (日曜日 and 月曜日) can be tied back to the ancient Chinese notions of yin and yang. Opposing forces that made up the entire univese (male/female, day/night, warm/cold, etc.). The other five Japanese days of the week relate to the five elements of nature in Chinese culture: fire, water, wood, earth, and metal (gold in this case).
But, when you think about it, this really isn’t so much different than our own English days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all come from European religions and traditions. When you examine the root of these words, you can see that they actually refer to “Moon Day,” “Tiw’s Day” (Norse god), “Odin’s Day” (another Norse god), “Thor’s Day” (yet another Norse god), “Freyr’s Day” (one last Norse god), “Saturn Day” (Roman god), and “Sun Day.”
Additionally, here are the nationally recognized holidays in Japan:
|New Year’s Day||January 1
||This is similar to how New Year’s Day is observed in most western contries.
|Coming of Age Day||second Monday of January||This day honors all the young Japanese people that have turned 20 in the past year.
|National Foundation Day||February 11
||This day celebrate the formation of Japan as a nation. It is believed that Emperor Jimmu took the throne on this day in 660BC.
|Spring Equanox||Mid-April||This day is reserved to honor nature.
|Showa Day||April 29
||Showa day is a day of reflection on the events of the Showa Period (the reign of Emperor Hirohito).
|Constitution Day||May 3
||This is the day that Japan’s modern constitution was implemented following World War II.
|Green Day||May 4
||This day is a day to be thankful for the many blessing that nature has provided.
||May 5||Children’s Day was established to honor the children and youth of Japan.
|Marine Day||Third Monday in July
||This day celebrates the oceans and seas, which are important to an island nation like Japan.
|Elder’s Day||Third Monday in September
||Elder’s Day celebrates the elderly and long life.
|Fall Equinox||Late September||The Fall Equinox honors the dead and our ancestors.|
|Fitness Day||Second Monday in October
||Fitness Day is a time to play sports and cultivate a healthy body and mind.|
|Culture Day||November 3
||This day recognizes the day that Japan’s post-war constitution was announced.
|Labor Day||November 23
||This day is a day for thanking the workers of Japan for their productivity.
||This day is the birthday of the current emperor. The day changes when a new emperor takes the throne.