- 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.

Old Rock Day

This day is completely dedicated to collect different rocks. To make this day more exciting, you can go on a small adventurous trip to hunt for old fossils and rocks or you can simply do different things with rocks at home. Every year on January 7th, people are encouraged to go and dig in their...

Earth's Rotation Day

On January 8, 1851, French Physicist Leon Foucault invented a pendulum device to prove the Earth’s rotation. It had long been believed that the Earth rotated, but Focault discovered that he could demonstrate this with a simple experiment using a tall pendulum with a heavy weight. He...

First Day of Spring - Spring Equinox

There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the "spring equinox" in the northern...

International Mother Earth Day

Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet Earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet. For instance, Bolivians call Mother Earth Pachamama and Nicaraguans refer to her as...

Butterfly and Hummingbird Day

Nothing brings beauty to your yard or garden like butterflies and hummingbirds. Their small size only accentuates their beauty, packing more awesomeness per square inch than even the most gorgeous of sunsets. But their beauty is more than just skin deep, because they also pollinate flowers and...

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