2020 Celebrating the Autumn Equinox with a 4 day long weekend


September 21st (Mon) & 22nd (Tue) are National Holidays, so there will be a 4-day weekend this month.

The 21th is Respect-for-the-aged day.
It used to be called “old-folks day” 年寄りの日 (toshiyori no hi), however that name wasn’t very popular
with the elderly and so it was changed to “Respect-for-the-aged day” 敬老の日 (keirou no hi) in 1966.

The 22rd we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox Day.
The Autumnal Equinox Day in Japanese is called 秋分の日 (Shubun no hi). Japanese people traditionally celebrate a 7 day period called お彼岸 (o-Higan) where the autumn (or spring) equinox day is in the middle.

According to the Buddhist religion, on the day of the equinox, the sun rises from the exact east and sets in the exact west which allows the spirits of the dead to cross the river which divides this world and the other world.

People believe that during this time, the spirits of ancestors return to this world.
So, they visit their family graves to clean them, offer flowers and burn incense.