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September Public Holidays in Japan
Just as your family is adjusting to the routine of the new school year, here come two public holidays in September to shake things up!
Respect for the Aged Day and the Autumnal Equinox create two long weekends in a row, as they both fall on Mondays in 2019. The Equinox is either 22 or 23 of September every year; Respect for the Aged Day is always the third Monday in September. We've put together some helpful background on each holiday, as well as suggestions on how to celebrate so that you can make the most of this extra time with your family.
Celebrated since 1966, Respect for the Aged Day is pretty straightforward! It's a day meant to honor and celebrate the elderly, which is no small population in Japan. More than one-third of the country is 65 or older and there are an estimated 30,000 centenarians - the largest number in the world!
In addition to special television programming showcasing the elderly, children perform Keirokai ceremonies, with song and dance, to honor the residents of nursing or retirement homes. It's also common to volunteer on Respect for the Aged Day, often by preparing bento lunches or gift baskets with toiletry items.
With several different ways to volunteer, Second Harvest focuses on feeding those in need. You can help distribute food directly, prepare meal packages or help to deliver donated goods throughout the community. Because Tokyo's population is aging (and aging fast) there are often not enough resources for the elderly; many are served through organizations like Second Harvest.
All ages are welcome at the Hakujuso Senior Home, where you can volunteer to entertain residents through Hands On Tokyo. Or, you can help with music and touch therapy in Minami Azabu at Arisu no Mori, where residents are all living with Alzheimer's disease.
This "endless" festival is celebrated over 11 days beginning on 11 September, but the main event will be on Respect for the Aged Day. A parade, complete with omikoshi, will wind through the streets next to Shiba park, making for a nice break during a day of volunteering!
Originally a Shinto holiday meant to honor the past, the Autumnal Equinox was rebranded following World War II to instead mark the change of seasons. Its roots are still evident in the day's traditions, however.
Many people take advantage of the long weekend to return to their homes, where they visit family, temples and grave sites. In keeping with the Autumnal theme, it's also a time to celebrate the harvest (and the lovely fall weather!).
How appropriate! Tokyo's locally grown and caught food is the highlight of this event, which also features a pop-up "field" right in the middle of Komazawa Olympic Park.
Ends 23 September
Whether you go for the all-you-can-eat, 2-hour plan, or a-la-carte, the whole family can enjoy numerous food and drink options while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Meiji Shrine's Outer Garden. The pop-up restaurant closes for the season after the Equinox, so it's your last chance to check it out.
20 - 22 September
The Equinox is all about honoring the harvest and Taste of Tokyo is yet another opportunity to enjoy the farmers, fishers and forestry of the city. The massive event (more than 75,000 attendees are expected) is held in Odaiba and features food and drink from Tokyo, Japan and beyond.
However you choose to spend these days off from work and school, remember that CareFinder is here to help! Our community of highly qualified, bilingual babysitters is the perfect resource, whether you need childcare for the day or another pair of hands while you celebrate. Find the best babysitter for family today.