National Foundation Day in Japan Date in the current year: February 11, 2016

National Foundation Day in Japan The Japanese celebrate National Foundation Day on February 11 to commemorate the foundation of Japan and the accession of Emperor Jimmu, its first Emperor.

Jimmu became the emperor or Japan on February 1, 660. This date was calculated, when Japan switched from traditional lunisolar calendar to the Gregorian in 1873. The holiday was originally proclaimed on January 29, 1872, but it corresponded to Lunar New Year of 1873. People celebrated Lunar New Year instead of National Foundation Day, that is why the government had to move the holiday to February 11 in 1873. The government stated, that the new date corresponded the day when Jimmu became the emperor, but didn't explain the way the calculations were made.

The original name of the holiday was Empire Day and it was celebrated with large parades and festivals. At that time this holiday was considered as one of the four major holidays in Japan. But modern celebrations of National Foundation Day are muted. Traditionally the flags of Japan are raised and a member of the imperial family delivers a congratulatory speech.

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