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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Meiji setsu
"Meiji Emperor Observance." A national holiday from the beginning of the Showa era to just after the end of World War II, celebrated on the Meiji Emperors birthday to commemorate his virtues. In 1927, at the behest of the Imperial Diet, the Meiji Emperors birthday, November 3 (by the old calendar, the twenty-second day of the ninth month), became fixed as the date of Meiji setsu. Meiji setsu was established upon the death of the Taisho emperor, when the Taisho emperor replaced the Meiji emperor as the object of the sentei sai (the celebration in honor of the former emperor) and there was no longer any festival honoring the Meiji emperor. On the day of the celebration, the Meiji Observance Rite (meiji setsu sai) is conducted within the Three Sacred Halls (kyūchū sanden) in the form of a lesser rite (shōsai) [wherein the emperor leads the imperial family and bureaucrats in performing obeisances and then the official in charge performs the rite]. This is followed by the Meiji Observance Rites (meiji setsu no gi) which include felicitations and banquet and conducted at the palace. The observance (shukujitsu) of Meiji setsu was added to the "three great setsu observances" of the earlier eras (Shihō sai, Kigen setsu, and Tenchō setsu) to make the "four great setsu observances" (shidaisetsu). Anniversary celebrations are held throughout the countrys elementary schools and conducted by various groups to honor the Meiji Emperors virtues. In 1948, in compliance with the "Laws of National Observances," it was renamed "Culture Day" and is still observed.

— Takeda Hideaki
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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