Key facts about this holiday:
This year’s fall equinox happens on 23rd September
Japan celebrates Fall Equinox as a public holiday.
AutumnalEquinox Day is on September 23 or 24, it is a national holiday in Japan.The Autumn Equinox is a time when the Japanese remember their dead relatives, and co-incides with the beginning of Fall.
The tradition of Autumn Equinox in Japan
One of the oldest festivals in Japan, the Autumn Equinox is widely celebrated in Japan.Old Japanese traditions believe that this holiday has a double origin.Some believe that this holiday originated from the agricultural society of Old Japan to celebrate the changing of the seasons. This day is usually when both night and day have even lengths.Due to leap year, the actual date of the Fall Equinox Day may change from year to year, but is generally around September 23rd. From this day for the rest of the year, nights become longer and days shorter.
The other name for the Fall or Autumn Equinox is ‘Higan No Chu-Nichi’. The second account of the origins of Higan No Chu-Nichi is from old Buddhist teachings. Buddhist teaching decrees that this day should be used to pay respect for dead relatives, and so it’s possible that this is the true origin of the festival. It’s traditional to bring flowers, incense and food as an offering to graves during this time.Especially popular is round-shaped food!
Japan Fall Equinox Traditions, Customs and Activities
The Japanese, in common with so many other socities around the world, often use this time to pay respects to their deceased elders. The time is therefore a popular time for families to come together and sweep the graves of their family members. In total the festival lasts a whole week, which divides the Spring and Fall.
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