Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no Hi) is a Japanese designated public holiday celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens. It started in 1966 as a national holiday and was held on every September 15. Since 2003, Respect for the Aged Day is held on the third Monday of September due to the Happy Monday System.
3rd Monday in September
Keiro no hi
Where Did This Day Begin:
Keiro no Hi goes back as far as September 15th, 1947, where the Mayor at the time gathered all senior citizens and declared that day as a day to respect the elderly in that area. This soon spread across the country and the government then named it as a national holiday in 1966. The day was moved to a Monday in 2003, as part of the Happy Monday System, creating a 3-day weekend for citizens.
How to Celebrate:
Generally, people send their grandparents gifts to express their gratitude or have dinner with all the family member together, wishing them for a long life. When you live away from your parents’ house and start to have your own home (because of marriage or work situation), constant family gathering becomes a little difficult. However, if you try to see your parents, or bring your kids on “Respect for the Aged Day and Seniors’ Day”, you can make them happy.
Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country. Respect for the Aged Day is also a way to honor longevity, and Japanese people have always been some of the longest living in the world. But this is also changing as more and more Japanese people add meat and other western foods to their diets. In addition, city living seen to cut lifespan due to pollution and stress. Respect for the Aged Day, also called keiro no hi, is not quite like “Grandparent’s Day” in the U.S. It is far more serious.
Respect for the Aged Day introduced in Japan on September 15, 1947. On this day, the government of Nomadani-Mura in Hyoga decided to honor the town’s elderly people. They called their holiday Toshiyori no Hi, or Old Folk’s Day. Since the first Toshiyori no Hi celebration in 1947 a large success, the government of Nomadani-Mura decided to celebrate the holiday on an annual basis. Eventually, Toshiyori no Hi became popular and it celebrated in towns across Hyoga and other provinces. The holiday continued to spread over the course of two decades. On 1966, the national government of Japan decided to make an official holiday to pay respect to elderly citizens. Today, Respect for the Aged Day is becoming a larger holiday in Japan due to the growing elderly population. Respect for the Aged Day will be a relevant holiday for Japanese people for many years to come.
Also, on Respect for the Aged Day, many Japanese music groups will travel to retirement homes and town centers to perform for elderly people. Dance performances and plays are also common. So, these events are often free to the public.