Although the term setsubun refers to the turning of any season in Japan, only one of the four annual occurrences is a well-known holiday. On February 3, the Japanese usher in spring with purifying rituals.
Category - Food Traditions
The month of January brings three of the most significant holidays in Japanese culture: San Ga Nichi, the first three days of the new year; Nanakusa, when the Japanese esat seven-herb porridge; and Kagami Biraki, the opening of the mochi.
In Japan, December means three major holidays: the winter solstice celebration, known as Toji; Christmas Eve; and Omisoka, the New Year's Eve purity rites, which take place in both the shrine and the home.
Kids in kimonos? Don't be surprised if you see Japanese boys and girls all dolled up come November. It's the time of year for shichi-go-san, a traditional aging ceremony held for children of specific ages.
Typically held on the second Monday of October, Sports Day is a national Japanese holiday known for athletics and, surprisingly, food. Despite the event’s namesake physical activity, the bento box lunches are often where the real competition lies.
If there's one thing to be said about Japanese holidays, it's that they're all about reverence. September’s fêtes, Jyugoya and Keiro No Hi, demonstrate this, paying homage to the moon and the elderly, respectively, with fun and food.
One of Japan's three major holiday seasons, August features two important cultural traditions: Hassaku No Iwai and Obon. The former is born from agricultural heritage, and the latter, Buddhist rituals.
July brings two significant holidays to Japan: Tanabata and Doyo No Ushi No Hi. One celebrates the fated reunion of two stars, while the other has less epic origins—but equally delicious food traditions.
Once one of the five annual holidays held in Japan's imperial court, Tango no Sekku happens annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month. In modern times, it is known as Children’s Day, or Kodomo no hi.
Each spring, the Japanese eagerly anticipate hanami. Literally translated as “looking at flowers,” hanami celebrates the delicate pink flowers' fleeting beauty. People of all sects picnic under the blooming trees, enjoying Japanese drinks and food.