What better day to honour our elders—who serve as our connection to the past—than Respect for the Aged Day, which is observed on September 18 this year and falls on the third Monday of the month? Every year on the third Monday in September, Japan celebrates a holiday. It is a national holiday in Japan, and as a way of celebrating, people get together with their senior friends and family.
The origin of this holiday dates back to the immediate aftermath of World War II, when a tiny town in Japan’s Hygo Prefecture called Nomatanimura (now known as Yachiyocho) declared September 15 to be “Old Folks’ Day,” or Toshiyori no Hi. Masao Kadowaki, the mayor of that town, thought that after the confusion and suffering of the war, people should look up to their elders (those 55 and older) for direction.
Some legends claim that the Yoro Falls in Japan miraculously healed a young man’s father around this time, while others assert that this date was chosen because a legendary regent by the name of Prince Shotoku founded a home for the elderly that was named after a god who was born on this date.
This regional festival, which was called Keiro no Hi throughout the years, rose to prominence throughout Japan and achieved its pinnacle position more than 20 years later, when it was declared a national holiday. But when Japan implemented a system known as the Happy Monday System, the actual day to honour the elderly altered. By shifting public holidays to Mondays, this was an attempt to provide normal 9–5 Monday–Friday workers extra three-day weekends. This holiday is now observed on the third Monday of every September.
The best way to observe Respect for the Elderly Day:
1. Make smart use of their expertise
Take advantage of the wisdom and expertise that elderly people may offer you. Our elders are quite ready to impart their wealth of wisdom. Use that experience as a yardstick for your behaviour; comprehend their customs, take heed of their errors, and let them serve as your link to the past.
2. On this day, be especially kind to the elderly.
We usually advise doing a nice deed or two, particularly when it comes to the elderly in our society, but on this day, pay extra attention to this group of individuals. Give whenever you can, even if it might cause you inconvenience.
3. Connect with noteworthy occasions
The Christmas season is the ideal time to visit with ageing family members and friends. Create entertaining contests and online gatherings, send them gifts, and stage online theatre performances with a Japanese theme.
Respect for the Aged Day: 5 facts
1. Unique presents for centenarians
On this festival, Japanese residents who turned 100 years old in the previous 12 months are given a unique silver sake bowl.
2. Japan has a large number of centenarians.
According to a Japan Today article from 2020, the senior population in Japan has been growing steadily since 1950 and is projected to reach 35.3% by 2040.
3. Silver to silver-plated
The Japanese government had to convert to silver-plated sake bowls since the country’s growing population rendered silver sake plates an unaffordable present.
4. Present data
There are now 80,450 centenarians living in Japan.
5. Their diets play a big part in it.
One factor contributing to Japan’s high rate of centenarians is a balanced diet.
Respect for the aged day: its essence
A. We can gain from their expertise.
We learn about and come to comprehend ourselves from the elder generations. They have prepared the road for us through their deeds. Even casual talks with ancestors can provide us with fascinating insights into our history, replete with first-hand recollections. These kinds of customs enable us to build a better future by learning from the past’s deeds, errors, and experience.
B. It gives them a sense of importance.
We see our elders less and less since the majority of us have left our hometowns. This day is a very welcome reminder to reach out to older people in whatever way you can and let them know they are appreciated and recognised.
C. We gain a sense of who we are from our past.
The memories of our elders contain our past. We still have a lot to learn from them as a generation. We may take advantage of these chances to comprehend how the past affects the present and let it educate us how to be responsible for future generations.
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