Golden Week is a nearly week long holiday that starts on April 29th and ends on May 5th. I say nearly because the holiday this year is interrupted by two days of work on May 1st and May 2nd, which are not public holidays.

Each of the days commemorates a different holiday.

April 29th is Showa Day (Showa No Hi). This holiday was established to celebrate the birthday of the Showa Emperor. In Japan, two systems for counting the calendar year are used. One is the calendar year that the rest of the world uses. The other, however, is called Nengo in Japanese and marks the years of the reign of the emperor during that nengo. The Showa years are from 1926 to 1989. So, for example, 1926 is also Showa 1, 1927 is also Showa 2, etc. Since the 29th falls on a Sunday this year, this holiday is bumped up to the 30th.

May 3rd is Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpoukinenbi). As per the name, it commemorates the promulgation of the Japanese constitution in 1947. This holiday was enacted to encourage Japanese to reflect on democracy and the Japanese government.

May 4th is Greenery Day (Midori No Hi). This day celebrates the lush, greenness of nature and is intended to encourage people to go out and enjoy its blessings.

May 5th is Children’s Day (Kodomo No Hi). This day celebrates children and their happiness. Wherever you go, you often see Koinobori (carp-shaped flags) flying high and families out celebrating with their children.

Although the holiday has a slight break in between, many Japanese take the days off in between and travel both domestically and internationally.

Are there any long, special holidays in your country in May? Let us know in the comments below!