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Japanese Holidays: Kinrou kansha no hi ”Labor Thanksgiving Day”

In Japan, November 23rd is a National Holiday called 勤労感謝の日(Kinrou kansha no hi) which means Labor Thanksgiving Day.  This holiday was originally a national festival called “Niinamesai” meaning “Harvest Festival.” At the festival, the emperor dedicated the year’s harvest to the Shinto Gods and ate it to celebrate the harvest of that year.

This holiday is similar to Thanksgiving Day in the United States in both the timing and concept.  But, considering that this holiday is held to give thanks to people’s hard work in addition to the harvest, it is also similar to “Labor Day” in the US.  Both of these holidays are very similar in that they give us a good opportunity to express our thanks to one another.

There isn’t a special meal that people eat, like turkey which is eaten on Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  However, children often write a thank you card to their parents at school and give it to them.

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