Marine Day, also known as “Umi no Hi” in Japanese, is a national holiday in Japan that celebrates the ocean and highlights its importance to the country’s culture, economy, and natural environment. In 2023, the marine day is observed on 17 July 2023.
History of Marine Day
Marine Day was first established in 1941 as a commemoration of the Meiji Emperor’s voyage on the steamship Meiji-Maru in 1876. However, the holiday was not officially recognized until 1996 when it became a public holiday as part of the Happy Monday System. The Happy Monday System moved certain public holidays to Mondays to create long weekends and promote domestic tourism.
Marine Day is observed on the third Monday of July each year. This allows for a long weekend, encouraging people to engage in recreational activities and enjoy Japan’s coastal areas.
Significance of Marine Day
Marine Day holds several significances in Japanese culture:
- Appreciation of the Ocean: Marine Day is a time for Japanese people to express their gratitude for the benefits and resources provided by the ocean. It encourages environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainable practices.
- Connection to the Sea: Japan is an island nation with a rich maritime heritage, and Marine Day celebrates the historical and cultural ties Japanese people have with the sea.
- Recreational Activities: Many people take advantage of the holiday to engage in various marine-related activities such as beach trips, swimming, boating, fishing, and fireworks displays.
Events at Marine Day
On Marine Day, various events and activities are organized throughout Japan to celebrate the holiday. These can include:
- Beach Cleanups: Many local communities and organizations arrange beach cleanups to promote environmental awareness and maintain the cleanliness of coastal areas.
- Marine Festivals: Festivals and parades are held in coastal regions, featuring traditional dances, music performances, and displays of local marine culture.
- Water Sports and Recreational Activities: People participate in water sports like swimming, surfing, kayaking, and sailing. Some areas organize special events such as fishing competitions or yacht races.
- Fireworks Displays: In the evening, fireworks shows are organized near coastal areas, attracting large crowds of locals and tourists.
- Lantern Lighting: As night falls, locals and visitors gather to release lanterns onto the Thu Bồn River. These lanterns, often made of silk or paper, are lit and set afloat, creating a beautiful scene as they drift down the river.
- Folk Performances: Traditional music, dance, and other cultural performances take place throughout the town. Visitors can enjoy Vietnamese folk songs, traditional plays, and martial arts demonstrations.
- Food Stalls: During the festival, the streets are lined with food stalls offering a wide variety of local delicacies. Visitors can savor traditional Vietnamese dishes and snacks.
- Traditional Games: The Lantern Festival also includes traditional games and activities that entertain both children and adults. These may include lantern-making workshops, board games, and folk games.