Column | Lunar Calendar Culture of Okinawa
Although the Gregorian calendar is often used in Japan, in Okinawa, there is a culture of celebrating annual events on the lunar calendar.
New Year is celebrated on the Gregorian calendar, but in some regions, the lunar New Year is also celebrated. When traditionally celebrated, the lunar calendar is often used, and Hari, which is an event to pray for good catch, is also held on May 4 of the lunar calendar each year. In Okinawa where ancestor worship continues to be practiced, functions to worship ancestors such as the March Ancestor Day (held in early April on the Gregorian calendar), Tomb Sweeping Festival (Shimi) to offer memorial service to the ancestors, and Bon Festival to welcome the ancestors from July 13 to 15 are all held on the lunar calendar.
The lunar calendar is also used commonly with respect to temperature and season, for example, on December 8 of the lunar calendar, mochi is steamed in shell ginger leaves to pray for good health, which is known as Muchibisa and said to be when the temperature drops. There are many occasions to see and experience the lunar calendar culture of Okinawa.