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Japanese Holidays: Silver Week

A string of consecutive holidays in autumn is called Silver Week in Japan, as opposed to Golden Week, which is a period that includes several Japanese holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May.

The National Holidays in that take place during Silver Week are “Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day” which is the third Monday of September and “Autumnal Equinox Day” which is September 23. This year, the third Monday of September falls on September 21. September 22 was made a public holiday in 2009 so that people could have 5 consecutive holidays from September 19 through 23. However, this consecutive string of holidays will not occur again until 2015, because the “Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day” is not a fixed date, but the third Monday of September.

“Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day” is a day to show respect to elderly people and celebrate their long life. On this day, people often send gifts or cards to their grandparents.  In Japan, the term “Silver age” is commonly used to refer to the elderly.  So, it is said that this is another reason why the consecutive holidays are called “Silver week.”

 “Autumnal Equinox Day” is a day when day and night have the same length from the view point of astronomy.  But, according to Buddhism, the period of seven days with this holiday as the middle day is for people to honor their ancestors and deceased families.  So, people often visit their ancestors’ grave on this holiday.