Thursday, December 23, 2010

Emperor's Birthday

23rd December is a national holiday in Japan. It is the reigning Emperor Akihito's birthday and is called Tenno Tanjobi. 

This national holiday is the birthday of the reigning Emperor and it was celebrated on April 29th during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. After his death, Emperor Akihito ascended the throne and his birthday became the new Tenno Tanjobi. Emperor Hirohito's birthday was then continued as a national holiday initially as Greenery Day and currently as Showa Day. With each succession to the role of Emperor, it's necessary to change the public holiday calendar to reflect the new Emperor's date of birth.This is done by the Diet of Japan as per the Japanese Law.

The Imperial Palace has a unique way of celebrating this special day. On 23rd December, the Imperial Palace gates are open to public and Emperor Akihito alongwith Empress Michiko and other family members makes an appearance on a palace balcony. He thanks the wellwishers for their wishes and gives a small public address. Wellwishers greet the Emperor by waving Japanese flags and shouting "Banzai"which means Long Live the Emperor. The Imperial family waves back in gratitude. This is only one of the two days when Imperial Palace is open to visitors, the other being on 2nd January when it is a New Year custom to greet the Emperor.

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