In contrast to how highly valued filial piety is in Japan, Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Elderly Day) is a rather recent holiday. Observed yearly on the third Monday of September, it’s a day to honor the elderly and express gratitude for the knowledge and experience they have bestowed upon us.

Those we honor may be family members, neighbors, or senior citizens in general. It’s also an excellent occasion to show compassion for people who are older than we are. Even though there are no clear guidelines for what constitutes the “starting age” for Keiro no Hi, 60 is currently viewed as being a little too young to be celebrated. A celebrant with silver hair typically meets one of three requirements: they are permanently retired from work, have attained age 70 or 80, and have at least one grandchild. Since Respect for the Aged Day always falls on a Monday, most people have a long weekend, which is a great opportunity to plan family gatherings. Many people make an effort to spend time with loved ones and go out to dinner, but others send flowers, seasonal delights like Japanese sweets or beer gift packs, or call to let them know they are in their thoughts. Some people would give their grandparents, parents, or other people they wanted to celebrate portraits. It’s also a chance for those without a lot of relatives to volunteer at senior living facilities or in our towns.

This holiday, as the name suggests, is a day to pause and thank the older generations. Let us celebrate this special day with those who paved the way for us!