Greenery Day is a Japanese holiday that is associated with nature and outdoor enjoyment.
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In Japanese, the holiday is known as Midori no Hi. Greenery Day is celebrated on the fourth day of May. The holiday is combined with a string of other related holidays to form Japanese Golden Week. Like the many other East Asian holidays that are celebrated during spring, Greenery Day brings families together after a cold winter.
While Greenery Day is a fairly new holiday when compared with other Japanese celebrations, it has an interesting history. Formed during the early 20th century, Greenery Day originally celebrated the birthday of Japanese Emperor Showa. Emperor Showa, more commonly known as Hirohito, reigned as the royal leader of Japan from 1926 to 1989. Hirohito was the longest ruling Emperor of Japan and saw some of the nation’s most critical moments, so many people admire the role that he played. Emperor Hirohito expressed a sincere appreciation for plants and the natural world, so people paid their respects to him by planting trees on his birthday.
During this time, the holiday was celebrated on April 29th instead of May 4th. After Showa died and his son, Akihito, took over as Emperor of Japan, the Birthday of the Emperor was renamed as Greenery Day. Despite the death of Showa, the practice of honoring his death through respect for nature remained. In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4th and Showa Day was instituted for April 29th of each year. Now, Greenery Day, Showa Day, and several other holidays are joined together for a week of spring festivities, or Golden Week.
Greenery Day is often regarded as a day of respect to the current Japanese monarchy. Since the holiday pays respect the Chrysanthemum Throne of Showa, many people believe that Greenery Day is a time to honor nature and the glory of Japan. In some ways, Greenery Day is a patriotic holiday. Many many people from Japan and across the world simply celebrate Greenery Day as a way of enjoying nature and things that are often taken for granted.
Most of the celebrations associated with Greenery Day are centered around nature and the outdoors.
Many people across Japan use Greenery Day as a time to enjoy the spring weather with their friends and family. Similar to Arbor Day in other nations, many people plant trees during Greenery Day in Japan. At the main Greenery Day celebration, the Emperor of Japan gives a speech about the holiday to kick off the festivities. After the Emperor is done speaking, all of the people in attendance take turns planting seeds for various kinds of trees. This action is performed in a ceremonious manner that honors both the emperor and the people of Japan. It also shows respect for nature and the simpler things in life. These festivities also serve to encourage the Japanese people to be good stewards of the Earth.
Along with the primary Greenery Day celebration, each major city and town across Japan holds their own version. These celebrations are organized by local governments and the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organisation. After the formal Greenery Day celebrations, many Japanese people spend time with their friends and families. If the weather permits, they often go outdoors or travel to a special location for some fun and relaxation. Popular travel locations among people during Greenery Day and Golden Week include major cities like Tokyo and natural locations like Mount Aso. People that do not wish to travel will often stay in their own city to enjoy parades and other street celebrations. People that watch the parades will see an array of floats, costumed dancers, and more individuals. These parades follow the theme of Greenery Day and the spring season, so vibrant colors should be expected. During Greenery Day, Japanese people often hang paper lanterns along the streets and on their homes. This is also a common practice by businesses across Japan.
Places to Celebrate
While some families enjoy reuniting with their family members in the peace and quiet of home or serene outdoor locations, many people like to go to public places to enjoy music, food, and festival games. Tokyo Tower is one of the most popular places to visit on Greenery Day. On the night of the holiday, Tokyo Tower is lit up with bright colors to represent the flows and natural beauty associated with nature and spring. Fireworks of every color can also be seen. Another popular spot to enjoy Greenery Day festivities is Shiba Park. Shiba Park is a public park with well-groomed landscapes. It is centered around the old zojo-ji temple.
Greenery Day is a popular spring holiday that gives Japanese people a reason to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family members.