The second Monday in October is a national holiday called “Health and Sports Day”, which is known as “Taiiku no hi” (体育の日) in Japanese. It falls on October 12th this year.
The first Health and Sports Day was held on October 10, 1966, two years after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, to commemorate the Olympics which started on October 10 of that year. This holiday was held on October 10 until 1999, and in 2000, it was moved to the second Monday in October as part of the Happy Monday system. (Because of this sytem, some National holidays were moved to Monday to make three-day weekends.)
This holiday is a day to promote sports and physical and mental health. Some sports facilities discount or drop their fees, and many schools hold their sports festivals on this day. These sports festivals are called “undōkai” (運動会) in Japanese. This is a big annual event for school kids and their families. They usually do track events such as a relay or a sprint race, or fun events such as three-legged races, ball games, and so on. Parents and/or grandparents of the children partcipating come to see them at the event, bringing lunch from home and eating it together as a family on the field. Some parents line up early in the morning in order to secure a good spot to see their kids.
Here are some lessons we have that are about Health and Sports Day or Sports day. Please check them out!
Japanese Culture Class #28 - Health and Sports Day
Audio Blog #57 - Sports Day Memories
Lower Intermediate Lesson #33 - Sports Day
Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #14 - Battle of the Classes 1
Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #15: Battle of the Classes 2
Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #16 - Battle of the Classes 3