July 18th of this year in Japan is Umi no Hi (海の日), which translates roughly in English to “Marine Day” or “Ocean Day.” Being Japan’s newest holiday, only adopted in 1996, this holiday is still finding its sea legs (bad joke) among people in Japan. They generally spend the holiday, coincidentally, at the beach.
Although the holiday is fairly new on a national scale, it actually dates back pretty far. Marine Memorial Day, Umi no Kinen Bi (海の記念日) was originally designated in 1942 to commemorate the Meiji Emperor’s 1876 voyage in a steam ship around the country. It took until 1995 for the holiday to be declared national, and in 1996, it was first celebrated as part of the Happy Monday System (ハッピーマンデー制度) and renamed Marine Day.
What’s the Happy Monday System, you ask? Aside from finding its initial support with Garfield the Cat–that’s a lie–the system, which moved a number of national holidays to Mondays, was enacted by the Japanese government to give workers who normally work five day workweeks a three day weekend.
Do you know of any beach or water related holidays in other countries? Tell us about it!