Friday, November 03, 2006

Bunka no Hi

Japan has about 10 more National Holidays than the United States. Today (November 3) is a National Holiday, Bunka no Hi (Culture Day).

November 3 was originally the celebration of Emperor Meiji's birthday. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed from "Emperor's Birthday" to "Culture Day" and the holiday was used promote culture and acknowledge the life and works of those who contribute to it, as well as time to celebrate peace and freedom.

Beginning in 1937, decorations for cultural achievements were established; they are awarded to individuals who have made important contributions to culture through science and the arts. Decorations are ranked (in ever the Japanese love for hierarchy) in 28 grades! On average, about four thousand awards are presented on Culture Day. Non-Japanese people can (and have) been presented medals. The ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace.

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