Respect for the Aged Day in Japan is held every third Monday of September. This national holiday is meant to honour all elderly citizens of the country for their many contributions to family and society throughout their long lives.
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The first Respect for the Aged Day celebrations were held in 1966 and on 15 September. But under the Happy Monday System reforms, it was moved to its current date. As early as 1947, Old Folks’ Day was held on 15 September, and honouring the elderly is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. So the roots of Respect for the Aged Day go deeper than the holiday’s history might suggest.
Every year, the Japanese media will search out and interview some of the oldest citizens in the whole nation. The Japanese government will give out silver cups to each citizen who reaches age 100. These cups have been given out since the 60s, but the much larger number of citizens reaching 100 each year has led to smaller cups being given out in an effort to reduce costs.
Many will visit their elderly parents, grandparents, and other relatives on Respect for the Aged Day. Some will also provide free lunches for the elderly or put on special performances for them. TV and radio will be full of programs dedicated to honouring the aged of society throughout the day.