Precious holidays

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Monday, April 29. The trains came and left on time as usual. Passengers going to Tokyo were also there as expected. However, most, if not all, were dressed casually. Those in school uniforms or business attire were not around. Instead of the usual silence or tiredness easily observable among the commuters, this time, the train was filled with happy voices of children, gleefully exchanging notes about what they did before the trip or what they wanted to do at their destination. Many of the young children were with the rest of the family, including happy grandparents, grateful for the reunion with their children and their children's children.

Friends were also out that day set out for shopping, eating out, or visiting some places where they could relax, have fun and chatter, chatter, and chatter as much as they could.

There were also the young couples in love, contentedly seated close to each other, whispering and exchanging loving messages to each other.

April 29 is always happily welcomed by Japanese as that day signals the much-awaited Golden Week in Japan, a week with a number of holidays that very busy Japanese deserve to have during the year.

Called Showa no Hi, April 29 celebrates the birthday of former Emperor Showa. This day was also known as Midori no Hi (Greenery Day) before 2007.

The next national holiday comes on the 3rd of May. It is called KenpoKinenbi or Constitution Day, one that was started in 1948 to recall the new constitution, which took effect after World War II.

May 4th is the next holiday. What used to be celebrated as Minori no Hi or Greenery Day till 2006, became a separate national holiday celebrating Emperor's Showa's love for plants and nature.

Then, on the 5th of May, the Kodomo no Hi or Children's Day is celebrated throughout Japan. Households with boys display Koi Nobori or koi (carp) streamers and some decorate their homes with armor or samurai dolls.

Between April 29th and May 3, Japanese resume their regular daily routine - those who are employed return to work, children go back to school. There are a number who schedule their annual holiday break to maximize their precious days of leave, rest and recreation and family reunions from April 29- May 5. More schedule their precious break from May 3-5.

The airports and terminals get clogged with the number of travelers during this Golden Week. Holidays are considered treasures in this land of extremely very busy Japanese, hence the term golden even if the total number of holidays are short of a week. Each holiday is considered so valuable with precious time spent for oneself, with other members of their families, and friends.

Our own Filipino migrants also take a break from their jobs. Some group together and plan trips to various parts of Japan. Others take the occasion to spend, even just a few days or a week to go back home to spend with their families and friends.

Already within the long summer vacation, those in the Philippines are certainly enjoying their time at home or elsewhere, with their loved ones. May ushers in so many fiestas, especially in our own province, Bohol!

May also starts with Labor Day, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, a day for us all to celebrate and be grateful to all the laborers in our country and all around the world who provide us their precious energy and effort. Workers throughout the world also mark Labor Day or May 1 as a special day to articulate their rights and needs for better working conditions and compensation. May the workers locally and globally be given their fair and just compensation and work conditions soonest.


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