Don't Forget your Thankful Feelings on Japan's "Labor Thanksgiving Day"

  • Nov 23, 2020
  • Apr 2, 2024
  • Monique Lu

Labor Thanksgiving Day

In America, there is a public holiday known as "Thanksgiving Day", and in Japan, there is a day that is quite similar known as "Labor Thanksgiving Day". But, who are we thanking? We're going to explain everything in this article about why this day is celebrated and for who! Read all about it below.

What is Labor Thanksgiving Day? Does it Relate to Niiname-no-Matsuri?


The origin of this holiday originates from something called "Niiname-no-Matsuri" which was a festival to give thanks to the goddess of abundant crops. It was a custom where the people would offer the new crops to the goddess in thanks for the harvest of that year. To explain it simply, His Majesty the Emperor would offer the new crops to the goddess and also eat some of them himself alongside the imperial household, this is an important custom that continues even today. The date was set as the 23rd of November in the year 1873. All large shrines across Japan partake in this custom even today.


In 1948, after the war, to separate from the courts and the general public, the holiday's name was revised to "Labor Thanksgiving Day". It was created to "Appreciate labor, celebrate production, and thank each other". It is recognized as a Japanese public holiday.

Who and What are we thanking on Labor Thanksgiving Day?

thank you

If we research the word "labor", we find two main descriptions being "To make an effort with both mind and body towards your work", and "To receive a reward, and complete the work given to you". While originally a holiday where people would give grain to the goddess in thanks for their crop yield, today, this is a holiday that recognizes the efforts of the working society, including those that work at home without monetary gain, it is to support "work" as a whole.

For Japanese People, Being Thankful is Very Important

japanese family

Japanese people, before eating will say "Itadakimasu" and after eating, say "Gochisousamadeshita". This is to show thanks to the person who has made it able to eat this food and also to the ingredients themselves. Being thankful for what you have is part of everyday life in Japan.

arigatou thank you

During "Labor Thanksgiving Day", while being thankful for the food you eat, it's about being thankful to, and being thanked by, those around you. We're sure you agree this is a beautiful holiday and way of thinking. Let's hope it will be a day where you can tell your family, partner, and those around you "Thank you for everything you do" ♪


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