Mountain Day in Japan
In May 2014, it was announced that Mountain Day will be celebrated as a public holiday every August 11, beginning in 2016. Supporters of the holiday included legislator Seishiro Eto and the Japanese Alpine Club. They honor the mountains every August. The legislation states that the holiday is to provide “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.
The campaign to have a Mountain Day was a longstanding cause for hiking and mountain-related groups, who wanted to celebrate Japan’s terrain and its connection to the nation’s geography and culture.
Japan also likes to have something specific to celebrate on each public holiday, such as Greenery Day in May, Marine Day in July and Respect for the Aged Day in September, though most people treat them as just another day off.
Why that date?
Because the kanji (Chinese characters used in written Japanese) for “eight”, 八, looks a bit like the sides of a mountain.
Also “11” looks a bit like two trees, say some. Many municipalities had also already designated the date as one to celebrate mountains and, unusually, there were no other public holidays in August.
What’s so Japanese about it?
Japan’s dramatic landscapes are scattered with volcanoes, earthquakes and hot springs, caused by the smashing of tectonic plates.
The country’s many peaks are more than just geographical features. They also explain Japan’s densely packed cities – squeezed into the flat land near the sea, and, observers say, the culture that has arisen there.
Despite this extreme urbanization, many Japanese people see themselves as more in touch with nature than people in many other developed nations.
Credits to: BCC