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Do you know about Respect for the Aged Day? This Japanese public holiday is celebrated annually to honour elderly citizens. It’s not the oldest Japanese holiday by any stretch – it began in 1966 – but even still, there are some traditions that have been part of the festivities since the holiday’s inception.
With 21% of the Japanese population over the age of 65, it makes sense that a celebration such as Respect for the Aged Day has come to be so widely accepted and celebrated. Over the past 40+ years since the holiday began, many traditions have become ingrained in the festivities.
In some neighbourhoods ‘Obento’ (boxed lunches) are distributed to elderly people in the community. Filled with traditional Japanese food, these boxed lunches are delivered by volunteers to senior citizens.
Another well-known tradition is the Keirokai show. These are held in smaller villages across Japan and are typically filled with song and dance. The show is put together by local school children, who perform songs and dances for their audience of elderly persons over 65. After the Keirokai show, the elderly guests are treated to a lunch with tea and desserts
Another Respect for the Aged Day tradition involves media coverage of the elderly. On Respect for the Aged Day, reporters look at the elderly population and feature some of the oldest people in the country.