Meaning of Equinox. Autumnal Equinox Day (SYUUBUN NO HI) in Japan




Equinox occurs in spring and autumn and it means “equal night” in Latin.


What Happens on Equinox?


Everywhere on earth would have 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.

That is, you would have the same length of the daylight and the darkness in Japan, whereas I would experience the same in Canada.

Autumnal Equinox Day (Syuubun no Hi or 秋分の日) is usually falls on 22nd or 23rd of September.

It is September the 22nd this year, 2016.





In Japan, people celebrate autumn equinox by appreciating ancestors.

It is said that the tradition originates in Buddhism.

People used to believe that appreciating ancestors was necessary in order to keep peaceful lives.

If they do not respect, the ancestors might give them a hard time.


Autumnal equinox is national holiday in Japan.

Since it is the day to appreciate ancestors, Japanese go to cemetery during the week of autumnal equinox (お墓参り).

Some go to cemetery a couple of days before the equinox, whereas others go there after the equinox.

It is totally fine to go there between September 17th and September 25th.


In my opinion, I think Japanese visit grave often.

Although they are not that religious, they respect and appreciate ancestors.


My family’s cemetery is far from my home so I cannot go often.

When I go back to Japan, however, I would try to visit there and

clean tombstone.




Moreover, some people make Ohagi (sticky rice ball covered by red bean paste) for autumnal equinox and give them to ancestors.

This also shows respect and appreciation of protecting from harmful events and accidents.


I always believe that my grandparents are watching and protecting me from the sky so that my day is ordinary and peaceful.

Some people might think that ordinary days are boring but I do think it is crucial and precious for me.



 - National Holidays

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