Tomorrow, 2013 March 20th, is 春分の日 (Vernal (or Spring) Equinox).
春分の日 (Vernal Equinox) is in the third week of March.
This is one of two days per year that both day and night are an equal twelve hours. It’s also commonly considered the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere).
This day is a legal holiday in Japan. So, most people have the day off from work or school.
Six month later, in September, is 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox). That is the other day that both day and night are an equal twelve hours long.
It’s commonly considered the first day of Autumn.
And it is also a legal holiday in Japan.
There is also, of course, 夏至 (Summer Solstice) in June. Daylight is longest on this day. It’s the first day of summer.
And, 冬至 (Winter Solstice) in December. Nighttime is longest on this day. It’s the beginning of winter.
Although both Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are holidays in Japan…oddly, neither Summer or Winter Solstice are.
Maybe you’re wondering how Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are “celebrated” in Japan.
On these days, many people go to their family grave at the cemetery to clean the grave, leave flowers and incense, and remember their ancestors.