In Japan, each 4 May is celebrated as Greenery Day. The public holiday is known as Midori no Hi.
Formed during the early 20th century, Greenery Day originally celebrated the birthday of Japanese Emperor Showa. Emperor Showa, more commonly known as Hirohito, reigned as the royal leader of Japan from 1926 to 1989. Hirohito was the longest ruling Emperor of Japan. Emperor Hirohito expressed an appreciation for plants and the natural world, so people paid their respects to him by planting trees on his birthday, and the holiday was celebrated on 29 April. After Showa died and his son, Akihito, took over as Emperor of Japan, the Birthday of the Emperor was renamed Greenery Day.
In 2007, Greenery Day was changed to 4 May, keeping 29 April for Showa Day each year. Now, Greenery Day, Showa Day, and several other holidays are joined together for a week of spring festivities, called the Golden Week.
People across Japan, and now in other countries, use Greenery Day as a time to enjoy the spring weather with their friends and family, often planting seeds or trees, or giving people flowers. The festivities also serve to encourage people to be good stewards of the Earth.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls