Home Events - Exoteric Japan January in Japan Japanese Cultural Calendar People’s Day 人日の節句 じんじつのせっく 
The seven herbs of good healthy to be eaten on January 7th, Person’s Day or 人日の節句


Jan 07 2025


All Day

People’s Day 人日の節句 じんじつのせっく 

Just to Be Healthy After a Couple of Days of Gluttony

People’s Day is one of the five seasonal festivals (五節句, gosekku). In Japan it is also known as ‘The Feast of the Seven Herbs (七草の節句, nanakusa no sekku). It best known as the time to eat foods made from seven specific herbs. Though the herbs differ by region, usually they are Water Celery (せり 芹), Shepherd’s Purse (なずな 薺), Chickweeds (はこべら 繁縷), Henbit deadnettle (ほとけのざ 仏の座), Gnaphalium affine aka Cudweed (ごぎょう 御形), Shepherd’s Purse (ナズナ 菘) and Suzushiro Daikon (すずしろ 蘿蔔). The name of this holiday comes from the first line of the Five Verses. The purpose of eating the seven herbs on Person’s Day is to refresh the digestive system after lots of not so healthy New Year’s holiday food and to promote long life without sickness.

Chinese Origins of People’s Day

Renri (人日 Chinese pronunciation of the same kanji) is the 7th day of the first lunar month called Zhengyue. Accordingly, humans were created on this day! So the order of creation went like this; day 1 of Zhengyue – chickens, day 2 of Zhengyue – dogs, day 3 0f Zhengyue – boars, day 4 of Zhengyue – sheep, day 5 of Zhengyue – cows, day 6 of Zhengyue – horses, and day 7 of Zhengyue – last but not least, people! In China this is also a time to eat dishes made of seven different kinds of vegetables, but can vary widely depending on where you are.

Why Are The Japanese and Chinese People’s Day Holidays No Longer In Sync

In Japan when the old Chinese calendar was changed over to the Western calendar, the Japanese kept the literal dates of many holidays, but applied them to the new calendar which started on January 1st, instead of sometime in February. But in China and other places in Asia the traditional Chinese holidays are still celebrated during their traditional times using the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. So the Chinese Renri holiday is the seventh day after Chinese New Year!


In Japanese
人日の節句 From Iroha-Japan.Net
人日の節句 From Kotobank.p
人日(じんじつ)の節句:1月7日 From Weblio

Picture from Japan.net.

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  • 二月堂 お水取り にがつどう おみずとり Water Festival Celebrating the Second Month of the Chinese Luner Calendar at Todaiji (Nara prefecture)

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