November 23 is Labor Thanksgiving Day, a holiday established to remind people of the importance of labor. This day was originally called Niiname-Sai, and it was continued until the end of World War II. This event was when the emperor offered the year’s rice and sake to the god of sun and other gods to eat and drink. This became a staple in the 7th century and is still held at the Imperial Palace today. The Emperor of Japan in the Heisei era was born on December 23. Therefore, this day is designated as National holiday during his reign.
On this day, the Nijubashi Bridge or the main gate of the Imperial Palace is open to the public.The Emperor and his family appear on the second floor balcony of the Imperial Palace. The emperor’s televised speech will also take place at the same time. They will be greeted with shouts of “”Banzai”” and waving flags. The Palace also hosts receptions for ministers and tea parties for ambassadors and ministers on that day. When there is a change of emperor, the date of this holiday changes. Of course, December 25 is not a holiday in Japan. The last day of the year is called the big day.Since many people are already on New Year’s holiday on this day, people generally clean out their houses, shopping, and preparing Osechi dishes, the special meals for New year’s holidays, by the evening. Around midnight on New Year’s Eve, you can hear the sound of bells ringing monotonously for an hour or two in the quiet sky. This is a traditional Buddhist event called “”Joya no Kane””, which is held at temples all over Japan during the year. It is considered to be one of the most important rituals.


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