Shunbun no Hi “Vernal Equinox Day”

Shunbun no Hi
“Vernal Equinox Day”
March 20-21
Shunbun no Hi wa itsu desu ka?
“When is Vernal Equinox Day?”
This holiday is celebrated on March
20 or 21, a day where the sun
crosses the equator making night and
day equal in length.
Shunbun no Hi wa nandesu ka?
“What is Vernal Equinox Day?”
This holiday celebrates nature, and is
used to show appreciation for all living
How long is this celebration?
This holiday is generally celebrated
for a seven day period.
It starts three days prior to Vernal
Equinox Day, and ends three days
That period of time is referred to as
What is done during Higan?
During Higan, people pay respect to
their elders.
Family graves are often
visited during this time,
where family members
offer flowers, food, drink,
and incense to console
their ancestors spirits.
Special Foods
Some people offer food to their friends,
family, and neighbors; although giving food
is not a traditional part of Shunbun no Hi.
The most common food
given is botomochi, which
is soft rice covered with
sweetened bean paste.
History of Shunbun no Hi
Although the precise origin of this
holiday is unknown, Shunbun no Hi
became a popular celebration in the
18th century.
Around that time, the emperor issued
an ordinance notifying the importance
of this holiday.
History (continued)
During the Meiji Era (1868-1912) the
government made this celebration a
national holiday.
Folklore about Shunbun no Hi
There are stories related to Buddhism
about this holiday.
It is said that on the equinox, Buddha will
appear on Earth to save stray souls and
help them during their crossing to the after
It is also said that after the equinox occurs,
the chill of winter disappears and cherry
blossoms will begin to grow.