Annual Events of Japan

(O)Shougatsu literally means the very first month of each year, but on a regular basis of daily conversation, it usually seems to be a term referring to the first week of the new year, from Ganjitsu ( the New Year's Day ) to Jinjitsu ( January 7th, one of the five Sekku days ), or sometimes even used to mean only the San-ga-nichi ( the first three days of the year from New Year's Day to January 3rd ).

In Japan, a traditional Japanese event called Setsubun is celebrated annually throughout the country, around February 3rd. This month's pick up would be this Setsubun.

On March 3rd, a traditional Japanese event called Hinamatsuri ( Doll Festival or Girls' Day ) is celebrated througout the country. This month's pick up would be Hinamatsuri.

Hanami ( literally, flower viewing ) is a customary event in Japan from ancient times, to go outside and enjoy the coming of spring season, by viewing and appreciating the beauty of Sakura ( cherry blossoms ) or Ume ( Japanese apricot blossoms ). Though in most cases, the word Hanami almost always represents a party under the Sakura ( cherry blossoms ), which has become an annual major spring amusement in Japan today, especially under a lot of media exposure.

May 5th is a national holiday called Children's Day, but it is also known since the old days in Japan as Tango-no Sekku. In Japan, there are special days to hold traditional ceremonies or events that are called Sekku. There are five days of Sekku in a year, and we call them Go-Sekku ( literally, five Sekku ) all together. One of this Go-Sekku is the Tnago-no Sekku, held annually at this time of year.

In June, there are no special days to hold traditional events or ceremonies, and there are no holidays in this month either. So this month, I would like to introduce 'Koromo-gae', a custom that comes down to today since the old days.

Usually, the number of festivals and events held throughout the country, increases during this time of year between Tsuyu ( the Rainy Season ) and Summer, but it should be said that the largest event held in July is Tanabata. So this month, I would like to introduce Tanabata as a traditional Japanese event.

This month, I would like to pick up O-bon ( Japanese Ghost Festival ), one of the two biggest events held in a year, which also is one of the most important events to Japanese. Though O-bon is held either in July or August according to each region, I decided to write about it this month, for it seems to be held from August 13th to 16th generally throughout the country today.

Although few customs are left to be practiced today, September 9th is known as 'Chou-you-no-Sekku ( literally, Sekku day that falls on coincided Yang numbers)' in Japan. It is also called 'Chou-ku-no-Sekku ( literally, Sekku day that falls on coincided number 9 )', 'Kiku-no-Sekku ( literally, Sekku day of chrysanthemums )', 'Kuri-no-Sekku ( literally, Sekku day of sweet chestnuts )', or 'Okunchi ( literally, festive day on the nineth )'. I'd like to introduce 'Chou-you-no-Sekku' for this month, together with the many names it bear.

Jugoya also known under the name of (O)tsukimi ( literally, viewing the moon ) or Chuushuu no Meigetsu ( literally, the most beautiful moon on August 15th of the lunisolar calendar ) in Japan, is a custom to admire the beauty of the moon on the 15th day of the 8th month, based on the lunisolar calendar.

This month I would like to introduce the Japanese Shichigosan ( literally, 7,5 and 3 ) event, as November's seasonal traditional event.

December has come around, and the end-of-the-year rush before New Year seems to be coming by. ( Though it's already halfway through the month since my update has been getting late. ) But before New Year, there comes one of the most important events to Japanese called O-misoka ( New Year's eve ). So this month I'd like to write about this O-misoka.