Q. I’d love to know how the Japanese celebrate Thanksgiving or, if it’s even cerabrated ?
A. There is a national holiday called “Kinro Kansha no hi (Labor thanksgiving day)” on November 23rd. The origin of the holiday is “Niiname-sai”, a religious ceremony conducted by the Emperor to thank for harvest of the year. It used to be “Niiname-sai National Holiday” until the end of WW2. After WW2, in the process of resetting national holiday under supervision of SCAP, it was renamed from “Niiname-sai” to “Kinro kansha no hi” to remove any religious colour, simply meaning “labor thanksgiving day”. The day of Niiname-sai is the day Gods and emperor first eat the newly cropped harvest of the year. So at the time it was still called “Niiname-sai national holiday”, people refrained from eating freshly harvested rice before the day to avoid eating it before Gods and the Emperor but after it lost the religious meaning, the tradition faded out. Labor thanksgiving day this days is just one of many national holidays and we do nothing special. But instead, we say “Itadakimasu” and “Gochisoisamadeshita” on every meal, both showing appreciation for the food itself, people who made the ingredients, people who cooked the food and also for the sun, rain, ocean, mountains...everything that is related to the food. So everyday is a Thanksgiving Day for us !
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Hi ! I'm Yoshimi, the owner of TOKYO KITCHEN !