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A young girl in a formal kimono holding  a large bag.
Cultural Holidays
  1. Calendars in Japan
  2. Fortune Calendar (Rokuyō)
  3. Events of the New Year's Period: Matsunouchi and Koshōgatsu
  4. Bean Throwing Day or Setsubun (February 3)
  5. Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  6. Doll Festival (March 3)
  7. White Day (March 14)
  8. Cherry Blossom Viewing Season or Hanami (late March to early April)
  9. Boys' Day, Children's Day, or Tango no Sekku (May 5)
  10. Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May)
  11. Father’s Day (third Sunday in June)
  12. Star Festival or Tanabata (July 7)
  13. Summer Greetings or Shochū Mimai (late July to early August)
  14. Summer Gift-Giving Season or Ochūgen
  15. Obon
  16. Seven-Five-Three or Shichigosan (November 15)
  17. Christmas Day (December 25)
  18. Winter Gift Giving Season or Oseibo
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Summer Gift-Giving Season or Ochūgen
In summer, there is a custom of sending a gift, called ochūgen, to those to whom we are indebted. The season for sending ochūgen varies between regions, but usually it falls in July and August. During this period, people wrap food items, seasonings, or household goods in noshi, paper tied with a red and white bow, and send them to any relatives and acquaintances who may have helped them in the past year. Children may send ochūgen to their parents, but only after they grow up and leave home. Family members who live together do not send ochūgen to each other. The origin of this custom is a Chinese Daoist festival. In Daoism, people ward off evil by making offerings at jōgen (January 15th), chūgen (July 15th) and kagen (October 15th). Among them, chūgen became popular as a gift-giving occasion because it overlaps with the bon festival, when many people travel to visit one another.
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