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List of Japanese Cultural Agenda, An activity in Japan is not only a meaningless activity, but there are elements of both culture, religion, legend and others. One of the famous activities or festivals is tanabata, hinamatsuri, sapporo yuki matsuri and many more. The following is a list of Japanese cultural agendas that are held every month.
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The new year in Japan begins with a greeting or read with akemashite omedetou, which means happy new year.
On January 1 it is called gantan . In the midst of the cold snow, there are special foods during the new year including osechi ryouri, ozoni, nanakusa gayu and mochi.
In addition to the typical food, there are also activities that are routinely carried out, namely hatsumode . Hatsumode is the first visit to the shrine in the new year. Usually this activity is carried out on the first, second and third day of the new year.
Then usually the Japanese buy omikuji . Omikuji is a fortune telling for their fate that year. If their prediction is good, then the prophecy paper will be brought, while if the prediction is bad, it will usually be tied to trees near the temple or in a place that has been provided.
In the city of Osaka precisely in Naiwa, on the new year the Tooka Ebisu festival is held . At this festival women sell bamboo leaves in the hope of getting a good career in the future, and geisha parade through the streets.
Seijin Shiki or also known as the day of maturity ceremony is held on the second Monday of January. This ceremony is carried out for people who reach the age of 20 because in Japan it is called an adult when they are 20 years old. On that day, women wear bright kimonos and men wear suits.
Setsubun is a traditional festival to exorcise demons. Usually this festival is done by spreading or throwing roasted omame (soybean seeds) to ward off demons or what is meant is to ward off bad luck and bring good luck and happiness.
Usually one of the family members plays the role of a demon by wearing a demon mask or called an oni and being pelted with an omame while shouting ‘ oni wa soto, fuku wa ie!’ which means “Devil out, profit in!”.
February 11 is celebrated as the day of the formation of the state. This event aims to foster people’s love for their country.
The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri or also known as the Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the largest snow festivals in Japan, precisely on the island of Hokkaido in the city of Sapporo. There are more than 150 large statues made of snow and ice with various characters.
At night this place is decorated with light so as to create a romantic atmosphere. The colorful statues are like a dream world in winter. You can also catch concerts and other events.
As in western countries, Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day in Japan has become a habit. Young women mark the day by giving chocolates to the men they love or admire.
The Kamakura Festival is a festival held in the city of Yakote, Akita. People would build houses out of mounds of snow and then drill holes in them and turn them into rooms. The area is about 2 meters and is called an igloo .
Hinamatsuri is a festival that is familiar, especially for Japanese language learners. The Hina doll festival, or girls’ festival, is displayed to decorate homes and is also held to pray for the growth and happiness of girls.
This doll consists of a set of dolls in an ancient aristocratic costume along with peach blossoms. Also served are small snacks called arare made from rice and amasake drink made from fermented but non-alcoholic rice.
It is said that this doll has been on display since the morning and if before evening this doll has not been put in or tidied up again, then their daughters will have bad luck.
If on February 14 Valentine’s Day, then March 14 is called White Day. On this day it was the men’s turn to return gifts from women who gave chocolates in the form of candy or marshmallows. This tradition is a tradition from Japan, not from western countries.
Green Day is a national holiday held to encourage Japanese people to enjoy and respect nature. Until 1988, this day was celebrated as the birthday of Emperor Showa who was said to have loved planting trees. Because of his love for the environment, April 29 is also known as Showa Day .
Onbashira is a celebration that is held every six years in Nagano, to be precise in the year of the monkey and the tiger. Large trees were cut to make poles at the end of the Suwa Shrine. Then what became the center of attention were people climbing onto big trees and sliding down from the top of the mountain.
Koi no bori
Constitution Day. The people commemorate the enactment of the Japanese constitution and expect the progress of the country’s development.
Kodomo no hi or children’s day especially boys. The traditional name is Tanggo no Sekku . On this day people perform an event to exorcise evil spirits by using iris flowers. Later this day became a day to pray for the growth of his son, which later became a holiday for all children.
For families with sons, they will display dolls or replicas of battle armor with a Kabuto hat and put up koi banners which are often referred to as koi no bori . Koi fish are fish that can swim against fast currents, it is hoped that the child will become a strong, confident and successful child.
This day is celebrated as Mother’s Day. Where on this day is a day to express gratitude to mothers, generally marked by giving carnation flowers.
The Aoi Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Kyoto. This festival became known in the Edo period (1603-1868). On this day, more than 500 people dressed in traditional costumes from the Heian period (794-1185) depart from the Imperial Palace of Kyoto on horseback, in carriages drawn by oxen, and carry the shrines they carry.
The Sanja Festival has been held for almost 200 years. Held in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Rice Planting Festival , is the rice planting season in June in Japan. This festival is intended to get a bountiful harvest in the fall.
Sanno festival , Chiyoda Tokyo. The festival is organized by the Hie temple which has been around since 1478. It features 500 people parading in the costumes of the emperor’s court. This festival began to be held in 1681.
If in May there is a day to express gratitude to mothers, then on the 3rd week of June there is a day to express gratitude to fathers.
Tanabata , also known as the star festival. This festival mixes Chinese legends with ancient Japanese beliefs about the two stars at either end of the Milky Way, namely the Altar star (the Shepherd/Hiko Boshi) and the Vega star (the weaver/Ori Hime) who are lovers. They were punished by the God King for playing too much so they could only meet once a year in the 7th month on the 7th day.
According to the legend, this evening meeting of lovers was a night of opportunity to make a wish. Usually the request is written on a colored paper ( tanzaku ) and hung on a bamboo tree. It is believed that this hope will come true if it does not rain that day.
Umi no Hi , is a festival to express gratitude for the gift of the sea and hope for the prosperity of Japan, which is a country surrounded by the sea. Usually at the festival, the beaches will be filled with lined candles. And at night will create a romantic atmosphere.
Gion festival , is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. This festival has been held for 1100 years. This festival is held to ward off evil spirits and disease.
The Soma Namaoi Festival , usually held annually for four days in the city of Haramachi, Fukushima. This festival depicts the war in 1000 years ago, which can be seen from the people who wear battle clothes complete with the flags of each clan.
Tenjin Matsuri , is intended to honor Michizane Sugawara who is believed to be the God of Knowledge. This festival is an ancient event in 951 aimed at fighting disease. This festival is usually held in Osaka.
Fireworks party held along the banks of the Sumida river, Tokyo. The fireworks display also features competitions from several overseas fireworks markets and a fireworks photo contest during the event.
Aomori, Nebuta . Nebuta is a summer festival held for sleepiness during the summer. The dancers shouted ‘ rassera rasssera rasse rasse…’ . And on the giant lanterns were drawn samurai and on the back of the samurai paintings were drawn paintings of goddesses.
Kanto festival , Akita. It is one of the three biggest festivals in northern Japan. Intended to ask for a bountiful harvest. This festival is a symbol of Akita, which is an area famous for its rice fields.
The Obon Matsuri is held on July 13-15 or in the middle of August depending on the region of origin. This festival is dedicated to the spirits of the ancestors, because it is said that on that day the spirits of those who have died return home to visit their grandchildren or their families.
This obon matsuri culture can vary depending on the region as well. Some put up lighting and fire lanterns to welcome the spirits or as a welcome greeting placed on the front door of the house, as well as at the end of the festival.
Kaze no bon is a festival to avoid wind damage that is held in Japan on a day called ni hyaku toka . The festival is held in Toyama. At this festival the dancers are accompanied by gibbon songs . This song is a famous folk song. Villagers wear kimonos and dance to the song of the gibbons as they walk around the city.
Tsukimi (Moonlight Day) in autumn. Then mochi cake and susuki grass are placed near the window as an ‘offering’ to the moon. At night, people eat dango and taro cakes , drink sake and celebrate the arrival of autumn.
In addition to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, in Japan there are also days that are celebrated for the elderly. The day is to express respect for the elderly, who have worked hard for society over the years, and celebrates their longevity.
Autumnal Equinox Day (a day when day and night are the same length, when the sun crosses the equator exactly). On this day, people express respect to the spirits of the ancestors and remember those who have died.
Sports day, where Japanese people enjoy sports and cultivate a healthy mind and body. This activity is often carried out in schools ranging from kindergarten, elementary, junior high and high school.
Nada Fighting Festival , this festival is known as the festival of clashing temples. Every coolie is banged against each other, because it is said that the harder it is hit, the more God will be happy and provide prosperity.
Jidai Matsuri , is a festival that began in 1895 to celebrate the move of the Japanese capital to Kyoto in 794 known as Heain-kyo .
Karatsu Kunichi festival that has been going on for more than 300 years. Featuring a parade with large lanterns in the form of golden lions, fish, and so on.
Culture Day, also known as bunka no hi , was originally observed to celebrate Kaisai Meiji’s birthday. But after the emperor died, it was replaced for cultural celebrations. Schools usually hold bunka no hi on weekends.
Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) this festival is a festival for children aged 3, 5 and 7 years old. For parents who have sons aged 3 or 5 years while girls aged 3 or 7 years, they will be dressed in formal traditional clothes.
Then the parents would take them to the temple to pray for the health and growth of their children. Then the children will get a special candy called chitose ame aka ‘thousand year candy’ . The shape of the candy is long and thin, even longer when pulled and is a good luck charm that symbolizes the wish for a long life.
Labor’s day . It is a celebration to honor workers, celebrate production and express gratitude to workers.
Chichibu Night Festival . It is a festival accompanied by folk music. Kabuki performers perform on a floating boat. In the afternoon four boats are illuminated by lights and decorated with 1800 fireworks eruptions.
Japanese people celebrate Emperor Akihito’s birthday.
Christmas Day. Many people follow the custom of exchanging gifts with family members and friends. Japanese people enjoy eating together on this day.
Towards midnight, temples across Japan will start ringing their bells. The bell is tolled 108 times which is one way to get rid of one by one lust.
In addition, there is a custom of eating soba (a kind of noodle) on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of hope for a long life and good health in the new year. Because the shape of this noodle is long and stretchable, it is believed to symbolize a long and happy life.
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