September 21st: 敬老の日 (Respect for the Aged Day)

September 21st in Japan is Keiro-no-hi (Respect for the Aged Day).

In 1947, a town called Nomatanimura in Hyogo Prefecture established September 15 as Old Folk’s Day. Soon, the entire nation caught on to the idea of celebrating longevity. In 1966, it became a national holiday. Following the installation of the Happy Monday System, the date of celebration was changed to the third Monday of September.

In the past, the age of 60 was an important milestone because it meant a full cycle in the Chinese and Japanese zodiac calendars. However,as Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world, with average expectancy at 83 years, Japanese citizens reaching the age of 70 are celebrated by the community. As a non-custom orientated holiday, some events emphasize the elders’ vitality in sporting competitions.