Golden Week in Japan - A Holiday Week

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Many Brazilians boast about their 3 consecutive days of holidays, but did you know that there is an entire week of holidays in Japan? We are talking about the golden week, the famous Golden Week. Today we are going to see what happens in this big Japanese week.

THE Golden Week [ゴールデンウィーク] or golden week is the junction of four Japanese holidays in a period of 7 days, usually having combinations with weekends. Golden Week is one of the 3 biggest Japanese holidays and takes place from April 29th to May 5th.

Golden Week is a national holiday, so many workers and students take the opportunity to take a vacation and rest in the homes of relatives, travel or enjoy. It is recommended to make advance reservations in hotels, as this holiday, practically everything is full.

What are the holidays or dates that make up Golden Week? Let's see below a little bit about each Golden Week special date.

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What is Golden Week?

As already mentioned, it is the longest holiday period in Japan. Many Japanese citizens take paid leave during this holiday, and some companies are completely closed and give their employees time off.

Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese workers. Only two other Japanese holidays last most of the week: the Japanese New Year in January and the Obon festival in August.

The holiday can also be called oogatarenkyuu [大型連休] which literally means long holiday or big holiday. In Japanese Golden Week can also be written Oogonshuukan [黄金週間].

See below the holidays that make up Golden Week:

DateHolidayJapanese nameCelebrated
April 29Birth of the EmperorTencho Setsu [天長節]1927-1948
April 29Emperor's BirthdayTenno Tanjobi [天皇誕生日]1949-1988
April 29Green DayMidori no Hi [みどりの日]1989-2006
April 29Showa DayShowa no Hi [昭和の日]2007 to today
May 3Constitution DayKenpō Kinenbi [憲法記念日]1949 to today
may 4thCitizen VacationsKokumin no Kyūjitsu [国民の休日]1988-2006
may 4thGreen DayMidori no Hi [みどりの日]2007 to today
May 5thChildren's DayKodomo no Hi [子供の日]2007 to today

History and Origin of Golden Week

Due to the application of the national holiday law in 1948, the holidays were concentrated in the period from April 29 to May 5, and this period became known as Golden Week because of the influence of the cinematic world.

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In 1951, the film Jiyū Gakkō recorded higher ticket sales during this holiday-filled week than at any other time of the year (including New Year and Obon). This led the managing director of Daiei Film Co., Ltd. to dub the "Golden Week" week based on Japanese radio jargon "golden time", which indicates the period with the highest ratings from listeners.

At the time, April 29 was a national holiday commemorating the birth of Emperor Shōwa. After his death in 1989, the day was renamed "Dia da Verde". In 2007, Green Day was moved to May 4 and April 29 was renamed to Shōwa Day to commemorate the late Emperor.

April 29 - Golden Week starts

In the past this was also the date of the Emperor's Birthday, but this National Holiday refers to the Emperor Reigning. So much so that currently this holiday occurs February 23. Emperor Hirohito's reign is still remembered by the name of Showa no Hi.

Showa no hi (昭和の日) is the name of the current holiday that celebrates the birthday of the ex-emperor Showa, who died in 1989. On that day the Japanese remember the 63 years of the Showa Period and also the difficulties they had to endure during this turbulent time.

Before World War II, this holiday was also called Tenchōsetsu [天長節] which referred to the anniversary of the consort of the Empress. After the war, the new government renamed him Tennō tanjōbi, in less formal language. Between 1989 and 2006, April 29 was used to refer to the green day.

Golden week

May 3 - Kenpõkinenbi (Constitution Day)

Constitution Day (憲法記念日) is an important day, where the Japanese reflect on the meaning of Japanese laws, democracy and Japanese government. This holiday took effect in 1947.

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This constitution was responsible for the peace treaty signed in 1952. Japan has a peaceful policy and is not involved in wars, only if it is in self-defense.

May 4 - Midori no hi (Green Day)

Until 2006, the Green Day (みどりの日) it used to be celebrated on April 29, on the birthday of ex-emperor Showa, but was moved to the 4th to fill the gap. The day is dedicated to the environment and nature.

That day was created because the emperor loved plants and nature. He also studied and published several works in the field of Marine Biology. This harmony with nature has a strong connection with the principles of Shinto.

Golden week

On that day there are many activities that involve planting trees, cleaning parks, lecturing on environmental issues, and bringing Japanese people closer to nature.

May 5th - Kodomo no hi (Children's Day)

Kodomo no hi [こどもの日] is considered children's day, but that date is also known as “Tango no Sekku” (Children's Day). The Tango event takes place on the 5th of the fifth month, but formerly using the Chinese calendar, the dai was June 5th.

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This day is to celebrate children's day, but it is mainly aimed at boys. The girls have their own day, the Hina Matsuri that happens on March 3rd. There is also a children's festival called shichigosan.

On this day carp streamers called koinobori, are hung in the gardens to symbolize strength and determination. Families also display samurai dolls, armor, helmets and other samurai weapons to represent the heroes Kintaro.

Golden week

In addition, other symbols such as Shoki, Momotaro and Shobu are used. On that day, children eat chimaki, rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves and kashiwa mochi. On that day the carp song called Koinobori uta.

This is one of the most important weeks in Japan. For many it is holidays and enjoyment, for others it is remembering these important dates and celebrating them. It's for you? Did you like the article? Share and leave your comments below.

Silver Week - Silver Week

If there is a golden week, is there a silver week? Yes, it is called Silver Week [シルバーウィーク] and can refer to any series of holidays other than Golden Week. Usually holidays that take place in September, October and November.

In 2009 this term gained strength to refer to sequences of 3 holidays that take place in September. This advertising term was created and defended by the film industry in the 1950s to refer to a period centered on the day of culture.

It can refer to the period before and after the days of thanksgiving in November. Not every year the sequence of holidays can adapt for a long period or take a weekend. These are usually dates such as Elderly Day, Culture Day and others.

Golden Week in China

The Chinese also copied the same holiday scheme as Japan. Golden Week [黄金周], in the People's Republic of China, is the name given to a national semester holiday of 7 or 8 days, implemented in 2000.

There is more than one Golden Week in China. The first is called Chunyun which takes place around the Chinese New Year in January and February. Another Golden Week may take place on October 1st, if the fall festival is close to National Day.

There is also the Golden Week of Labor Day that starts on May 1st. This week was discontinued in 2007, but was reintroduced in 2019. What do you think about these holidays abroad? Could Brazil have its Golden Week? It would be the Carnival?

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NIHONGO Golden Week Week

In addition to all the Golden Week we talked about in this article, there is an online event by Ricardo Cruz focused on those who wish to learn Japanese. He calls this event Nihongo Golden Week. A Free event on the Japanese language.

I want to end this article by inviting you to participate in this event clicking here. By registering on the site you already guarantee your participation in the next Golden Week. I hope you enjoyed the article, if you liked it share and leave your comments!