Greenery Day in Japan
Greenery Day, known as Midori no Hi (緑の日) in Japanese, is a national holiday in Japan dedicated to appreciating nature and promoting environmental awareness. The holiday takes place on May 4th every year, as part of Japan's Golden Week—a collection of public holidays spanning from late April to early May.
Greenery Day was first celebrated in Japan on April 29, 1989, following the death of Emperor Hirohito, who had a deep love for nature and plants. Originally, April 29th was the birthday of the late Emperor and celebrated as a national holiday called "Tennō Tanjōbi" (天皇誕生日) or Emperor's Birthday. In order to honor his memory and passion for nature, the day was renamed to Greenery Day after his death.
In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4th, and April 29th became known as "Shōwa Day" (昭和の日), commemorating the Shōwa era during Emperor Hirohito's reign. This change was made to maintain the theme of nature appreciation while allowing for a separate day to remember the late Emperor and the historical events of his era.
National customs for Greenery Day in Japan
On Greenery Day, people across Japan take the opportunity to spend time outdoors, enjoying activities such as picnics, hiking, and gardening. With the pleasant spring weather, many families and friends visit parks and gardens to appreciate the blooming flowers, particularly cherry blossoms and azaleas, which are in full bloom during this time of the year.
Schools and local communities often organize events to promote environmental awareness, such as tree planting and park clean-up activities. Some cities and towns also host various eco-friendly events like eco-fairs, workshops, and lectures to educate people about the importance of preserving the environment and living sustainably.
Local customs for Greenery Day in Japan
While Greenery Day is celebrated throughout Japan, some areas have their own unique customs and traditions associated with this holiday. For instance, in Kamakura, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, the annual Kamakura Matsuri (鎌倉まつり) takes place during Golden Week, featuring a series of events that showcase the city's rich history and culture.
In the town of Hino, a "Greenery Festival" is held every year, with various environmental activities such as nature walks, tree planting, and hands-on workshops for children. Local businesses also participate in promoting eco-friendly products and practices during the festival.
Greenery Day in Japan is a special occasion that encourages people to appreciate nature and take part in activities that promote environmental awareness. With its origins in honoring the late Emperor Hirohito's love for nature, the holiday has evolved into a day where Japanese citizens can enjoy the beauty of their natural surroundings and learn about the importance of protecting the environment.