Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
 main menu
  »New EOS site



  »Guide to Usage

  »Contributors & Translators


  »Movies List

Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Types of Rituals
This term refers to the holidays (shukujitsu) and days of observances (saijitsu) fixed by the Japanese state. In the prewar period, there were both shukujitsu and saijitsu, but in the postwar period only the term shukujitsu continued to be used. To the three major national holidays, which were established in the Meiji period (1868-1912), New Year (shinnensetsu), Empire Day (kigensetsu), and the Emperor's Birthday (tennōsetsu), was added in 1927 the Meiji Emperor's Birthday (meijisetsu) and together these festivals became the four major national holidays (shidaisetsu) in prewar Japan. Also, from the time of the Imperial ordinance Days of Observances and Holidays (saijitsu oyobi shukujitsu) in the same year, the four national holidays were joined by the Festival of Origins (genshisai), the Spring Commemoration for the Imperial Spirits (shunki kōreisai), and one other occasion, bringing to seven the number of days of observances (saijitsu) established as holidays. These seven saijitsu were also known as national saijitsu (kokusaijitsu).
       The custom of raising the Japanese national flag on national holidays (shukusaijitsu) began in about 1872/3. The postwar period changed the system of the prewar period, and in 1948 the National Holidays Law (kokumin no shukujitsu ni kan suru hōritsu) was promulgated and the national days of observances were abolished. Among the national holidays of the postwar period are those which follow prewar national holidays under a different name: the Spring Commemoration for the Imperial Spirits (shunki kōreisai) became the Vernal Equinox Day (March 21), the Autumn Commemoration for the Imperial Spirits (shūki kōreisai) became Autumn Equinox Day (September 23), and the Meiji Emperor's Birthday became Culture Day (November 3). Furthermore, the category saijitsu includes a number of shrine rituals, but these are generally distinguished from national saijitsu.

See also saijitsu and shidaisetsu.

— Inoue Nobutaka

Prewar National Holidays / Festival Days and Postwar National Holidays

"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
URL http://21coe.kokugakuin.ac.jp/
Copyright ©2002-2006 Kokugakuin University. All rights reserved.
Ver. 1.3