Vernal Equinox Day, also known as Shunbun no Hi in Japanese, is a national holiday celebrated in Japan on or around March 20th. The day marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new season. It is a time for reflection, renewal, and the celebration of nature's rebirth.
In Japan, the Vernal Equinox is a time of year that holds great spiritual significance. It is believed to be a day of balance, when the forces of light and darkness are in equal measure. It is also a day to honor ancestors and pay respects to those who have passed away.
One of the most significant ways that the Japanese celebrate Vernal Equinox Day is by visiting their family graves. Many families take this opportunity to clean and decorate the graves of their loved ones, offering prayers and making offerings of food and flowers.
In addition to visiting graves, the holiday is also celebrated with a variety of cultural activities and traditions. Many Japanese people take the day off work or school and spend time outdoors, enjoying the beauty of the natural world. This is a time when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and many people take part in hanami, or cherry blossom viewing parties.
In some parts of Japan, it is also traditional to eat seasonal foods on Vernal Equinox Day. One popular dish is nanakusa gayu, a type of rice porridge made with seven spring herbs. The dish is believed to be cleansing and purifying, and is eaten to promote good health and ward off illness.
Another traditional activity on Vernal Equinox Day is the making of hina dolls, which are a type of traditional Japanese doll. These dolls are typically displayed in households with young girls, and are thought to bring good luck and protection to the family.
Overall, Vernal Equinox Day is a day of celebration, reflection, and renewal in Japan. It is a time to honor the natural world and the changing of the seasons, as well as to pay respect to ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. The holiday is a reflection of Japan's deep spiritual traditions and its close relationship with the natural world.