Golden Week in Japan, what is it ?
Golden Week in Japan, what is it ?
Have you ever heard of the Golden Week holiday ? In Japan, people rarely have a long vacation period. For this reason, Golden Week is a welcome sight on the Japanese holiday calendar.
Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays in Japan within seven days. You heard that right – four major holidays within the span of seven days (and yes, holidays are a day off from work in Japan as well)! Golden Week is the perfect opportunity for Japanese people to celebrate their rich history and reconnect with their culture and nature (especially during Greenery Day – a day to celebrate the environment and nature).
The four national holiday contained within Golden Week in 2022 are: Shōwa Day or Shōwa no hi (April 29th), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3rd) or Kenpō Kinenbi, Greenery Day (May 4th) or Midori no Hi and Children’ Day (May 5th) or Kodomo no Hi.
1) Shōwa Day – April 29th
This holiday marks the birthday of the turbulent Emperor Shōwa (1901-1989). The holiday is used to encourage public reflection on the 63-year reign of the deceased emperor, rather than glorify the controversial acts during his stay on the Chrysanthemum Throne (throne of the emperor of Japan).
2) Constitution Memorial Day – May 3rd
This holiday marks the drafting of the new Japanese constitution following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Constitution Memorial Day is often regarded as a day to reflect and reminisce the events of Japan’s history.
This event and subsequent holiday were turning points in Japan’s political sphere – marking a new era of political systems. With this constitution, Japan changed its previous system from authoritarian-semi-constitutional monarchy into a parliamentary monarchy.
The constitution is best known for Article 9 by which Japan renounces its right to wage war and maintain military forces thus, declaring Japan as a pacifist nation.
3) Greenery Day – May 4th
This important holiday also marks the birthday of emperor Showa, however was moved to a later date in accordance with Japanese holiday laws.
Yup, you heard that right, Japan has a collection of holiday laws one of which states that any day between two holidays that is not a holiday – must become a holiday.
Greenery day now signifies a day dedicated to the environment and nature, because of Emperor Shōwa’s love for plants and nature. On this holiday (and all through Golden Week) Japanese citizens leave their cities to reconnect with nature as a family.
4) Children’s Day – May 5th
The last holiday of Golden Week is the celebration of Children’s Day. During this holiday, families pray for the health, happiness and show respect for children’s different personalities.
To celebrate, families raise Koinobori flags (carp-shaped windsocks) in accordance with an old Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon and flies to Heaven. Families also display samurai dolls to symbolize strength and vitality.
During this holiday, families make different sweet rice cakes for their children. We don’t offer these traditional rice cakes (who knows, maybe one day?). However for all of you with a sweet tooth, we do have a few different desert sushi recipes on our blog to honour this day in your own way.
And now you know everything about Golden Week !
Japan is a society overflowing with cultural richness and with many interesting long-standing traditions. MITO is happy to honour some of these traditions by offering high quality Asian inspired recipes and sushi. Stop by a MITO counter near you to check out our marvelous sushi !
6 May 2022