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Sept 23 – Autumn Equinox Day – Shuubun no Hi 秋分の日

Equinox occurs twice a year, around March 21st and September 23rd, in which the day and night are of equal length. In Japan, the day that falls on the autumnal equinox is called shubun-no-hi 秋分の日, and the day that falls on the vernal equinox is called shunbun-no-hi 春分の日.

The Autumnal Equinox Day was set up under the national holiday law so that people could show respect for their ancestors and commemorate the dead.

Both days are designated as national holidays, and also fall on the central day of a 7-day Buddhist memorial service called higan 彼岸. The characters literally mean “the other (彼) ” and “shore (岸)”, translating to “the other side of the river of death.”. In Buddhism, some people believe, figuratively, that spirits of the dead will cross a river from this shore to the other shore around the date.

Speaking of “Higan,” there is a special autumn flower, called “higanbana,” also known as red spider lily. Surprisingly, this beautiful red flower blooms around September 23.

Source: japanese-culture.info; language-exchange.org

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