Last updated on September 20th, 2023 at 08:50 pm
In Japan, Respect for the Aged Day, known as “Keiro no Hi,” is a cherished national holiday observed on the third Monday of September. It serves as a beautiful blend of celebrating the wisdom and resilience of the elderly, advocating for their well-being, and promoting the ideals of peace—an intricate tapestry of traditions and contemporary expressions.
Honoring the Elderly
The heart of this day lies in paying homage to the elderly. Families across Japan come together to express their deep respect and appreciation for aging family members. Adult children often visit their parents or grandparents, spending quality time that reinforces familial bonds. Gestures of respect, such as deep bows and polite language, symbolize the reverence accorded to the elderly.
Exchanging gifts is a common practice on Respect for the Aged Day. Gifts range from practical items like clothing and health-related products to more personalized tokens that reflect the recipient’s interests and needs. The act of giving is a heartfelt gesture that conveys love and gratitude.
Feasting and Festivities
Special meals are prepared or enjoyed at restaurants, with menus often featuring traditional Japanese dishes or the elderly person’s favorite foods. It’s a time for culinary indulgence and the creation of fond memories.
Local communities and organizations orchestrate events and activities tailored to senior citizens. Music performances, dance shows, and sports competitions designed for the elderly foster social interaction and physical activity, promoting well-rounded well-being.
Many individuals opt to spend the day volunteering at nursing homes or community centers catering to the elderly. These acts of kindness provide direct support and companionship to seniors who may not have family nearby.
Schools and community centers often engage children in creating artwork and craft items as gifts for the elderly. These handcrafted tokens of appreciation are cherished for their thoughtfulness.
Local governments and organizations may hold ceremonies to honor elderly citizens who have made significant contributions to their communities. These events spotlight achievements and wisdom.
The media feature stories about exceptional elderly individuals and events related to Respect for the Aged Day. These stories inspire and educate the public about the invaluable contributions of seniors to society.
A Call for Peace
Respect for the Aged Day also echoes the desire for peace among the elderly. Concerns arise about policies that allocate substantial resources to military endeavors, reminding many of the devastation of war. Seniors, who remember firsthand the horrors of conflict, call for upholding Article 9 of the Constitution—a testament to Japan’s commitment to peace.
This blend of traditions and contemporary expressions on Respect for the Aged Day reflects Japan’s societal shift towards an aging population. It embodies the ethos of cherishing and respecting the elderly while advocating for their rights and well-being.