Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Autumnal Equinox Day!

Today is September 23, the day of the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length.  In Japan, today is a national holiday, called Shubun no Hi (秋分の日) or Higan no Chu Nichi (彼岸の中日).  Higan is a week-long period of Buddhist memorial services, and it occurs twice a year, at the vernal and autumnal equnioxes. 

Dedicated to celebrating the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, Shubun no Hi is also a day that families visit tombs to pay respects to their ancestors.  From the balcony of our hotel, we saw people putting fresh flowers at graves.

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