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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.

January
  • Shurijo Castle Park New Year’s Celebration

  • Cherry Blossom Festival

February
  • Okinawa International Orchid Show

  • Okinawa Marathon

March
  • Higashi Village Azalea Festival

April
  • Ryukyu Kaiensai Fireworks Festival

  • Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup

  • All-Japan Triathlon Miyakojima

  • Lily Festival on Ie Island

May
  • Naha Haarii

June
  • Itoman Haaree

  • Ojima Sea God Festival (Hari)

  • Pillars of the Light for Peace (Lights of Peace)

July
  • Peaceful Love Rock Festival

  • Ocean Expo Park Summer Festival

  • Tedako Festival

  • All-Okinawa Eisa Festival / Orion Beer Festival

  • Angama

July
  • Hagoromo Festival

  • 10,000 Eisa Dance Parade

September
  • Pāntu

  • Shurijo Castle Park Mid-Autumn Celebration

October
  • Okinawa Industrial Festival

  • Iheya Moonlight Marathon

  • The Naha Great Tug-of-War

  • Shurijo Castle Festival (Ryukyu Dynasty Parade)

November
  • Tsuboya Pottery Festival

  • Ritou Fair (Islands
    Exhibition)

  • Tour de Okinawa

December
  • Yomitan Pottery Market

  • Naha Marathon