- March 21 -

Vernal Equinox Day (Shunbun no hi-Japan)

Vernal Equinox Day is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different timezones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous...

Vernal Equinox Day (Shunbun no hi-Japan)

Vernal Equinox Day is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different timezones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous year, due to the need for recent astronomical measurements.Vernal Equinox Day became a public holiday in 1948. Prior to that it was the
date of Shunki koreisai, an event relating to Shintoism. Like other Japanese holidays, this holiday was repackaged as a non-religious holiday for the sake of separation of religion and state in Japan's postwar constitution.

"Shunbun" is written with a combination of the kanji characters for "spring" and "to divide". The seven-day period, including the three days immediately before and after "Shunbun no hi," is called the spring equinoctial week (higan). There is an old saying; "Atsusa samusa mo higan made," which means that higan is a boundary marking the end of summer heat or winter coldness.

In Japan, the Vernal Equinox is a national holiday, and a very busy time. Up until 1948 the Japanese celebrated a holiday called Shunki korei-sai, an imperial festival where the ancestors of the Japanese were worshipped and
celebrated. After 1948 this holiday became known as Shunbun no Hi, and was designated as a day when the Japanese would celebrate nature and all things living. However, even though the meaning of the holiday has officially been changed, many Japanese people take time on this day to visit their family tombs and to pay respects to their ancestors. These family tombs are weeded and cared for, and flowers, incense and ohagi (sweet rice balls – the spirits of the ancestors are said to prefer round foods) are left at the tombs.
Traffic in Tokyo is particularly heavy as many people visit the expansive Tama Bochi (Tama Cemetery) during this time.

Meanwhile, Japanese Buddhists are celebrating this auspicious day as well, as they observe the holiday of Higan.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernal_Equinox_Day
http://japanese.about.com/b/2010/03/17/shunbun-no-hi-vernal-equinox-day.htm
http://entangled.com/vernal-equinox-a-holiday-in-japan/

Categories:

More holidays on this day:

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
International Day of Forests
International Day of Nowruz
World Puppetry Day
World Poetry Day
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)

You may also like...

Interesting events from Nature category.

Houseplant Appreciation Day

The holidays are over. The decorations have been put away for another year. The house looks a little plain, a little drab. In the greyishness of January, your eye catches something in the corner of the room. Why, it's a houseplant! Funny, but with all of the holiday hubabuloo, you've all but...

Vernal Equinox Day (Shunbun no hi-Japan)

Vernal Equinox Day is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different timezones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous...

International Day of Families

The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote...

Chimborazo Day

Chimborazo Day celebrates the mountain which represents the highest point on Earth. Technically, Chimborazo is higher than Mt. Everest, as it resides closer to the equator where the Earth ‘bulges’, making it relatively taller even though it’s smaller overall! Chimborazo, an inactive...

World Nature Conservation Day

Celebrated on July 28 each year, World Nature Conservation Day recognizes that a healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations, we all must participate to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage our natural...

World Habitat Day

World Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world. It was officially designated by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1986. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our cities and towns and the basic human right to adequate shelter. It...

Download KeepIn Calendar

Enjoy the interesting stories even on your phone or tablet