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Golden Week Information

Date Posted: 1999-05-01

This weekend marks the start of the so-called "Golden Week" in Japan, a string of national holidays celebrating many cultural festivities and remembrances across the nation. Starting with Greenery Day on Thursday, Golden Week holidays include Constitution Memorial Day (Kempou Kinenbi) on Monday, Citizen's Day (Kokumin No Kyuujitsu) on Tuesday and Children's Day (Kodomo No Hi) Wednesday. Greenery Day was originally set aside to celebrate the birth date of Emperor Showa. Beginning in 1989 with the emperor's death, it was changed to a national holiday in celebration of nature, one of many issues the late Emperor held close to his heart. Constitution Memorial Day celebrates the establishment of the modern Japanese constitution in 1947. We mark Citizens' Day this year for the first time - a day set aside to fill the void between the two other national holidays. Children's Day is a day of prayer and good wishes for the health and happiness of the children in Japan.

One of the biggest events to take place during Golden Week is the annual Naha Dragon Boat Races (Haarii) that takes place at Aja Port. This three-day festival starts Monday and features live concerts and other entertainment, and food and drink booths. A fireworks display marks the end of each day's festival. The live concerts start at 7 p.m. with Diamantes appearing on Monday, Rock Association Live Stage on Tuesday and Okinawan folk singer Shigemasa Nishidomari on Wednesday, starting at 7:15 p.m.

The Naha Dragon Boat Races, believed to be of ancient Chinese origin, will start at 3:30 pm Thursday, the festival's final day.

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