|Labor Thanksgiving Day
||Kinrō kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日)
||Commemorates labor and production and giving one another thanks; formerly a harvest festival
Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi) is a national holiday in Japan which takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks.
Events are held throughout Japan, one such being the Nagano Labor Festival. The event encourages thinking about the environment, peace and human rights.
It is not unusual for early grade elementary students to create drawings for the holiday and give them as gifts to local kōbans, or police stations.
Labor Thanksgiving Day is the modern name for an ancient cereals (rice, barley/wheat, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, proso millet, and beans) harvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭). The Nihon Shoki mentions a harvest ritual having taken place during the reign of the legendary Emperor Jimmu (660–585 BC), as well as more formalized harvest celebrations during the reign of Emperor Seinei (480–484 AD). Modern scholars can date the basic forms of niiname-sai to the time of Emperor Temmu (667–686 AD). Traditionally, it celebrated the year's hard work; during the Niiname-sai ceremony, the Emperor would dedicate the year's harvest to kami (spirits), and taste the rice for the first time.
The modern holiday was established after World War II in 1948 as a day to mark some of the changes of the postwar constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of workers rights. Currently Niiname-sai is held privately by the Imperial House of Japan while Labor Thanksgiving Day has become a national holiday.
May 1st is also celebrated as Labor Day by many trade unions in Japan, which hold large rallies and marches in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
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