Silver Week, as the name suggests, is something akin to Golden Week in Japan when a number of national holidays fall closely together and people take the opportunity to forget the daily grind and relax if only for a short few days. The difference from Golden week though is that it contains two floating dates, one locked as the third Monday in September under the Happy Monday Law, and the second either the 23rd or 24th of the month according to the orbit of the earth and the auspices of the Autumnal Equinox.
The result is that every few years "Respect for the Aged" falls on the 21st and the equinox falls on the 23rd triggering a second law to come into play that allows for a single gap day between two national holidays to become a day away in its own right. And so two days off can suddenly become three, as if by magic. Which partly seems to be the case as the date of the equinox is only announced by the government in the February of the year prior to the event itself. And in a world where we can predict the next Transit of Venus to be 10 & 11 of December 2117, some 101 years from now, this seems a little peculiar.
Perhaps I'm being a touch paranoid but it would be interesting to see in which year elections were held or the economy needed a little boost and compare to the years when Silver Week was at it's finest. But I digress. The interesting origins of the Autumnal Equinox were actually laid with the new constitution in 1948. State and Church were separated as the Founding Fathers had envisioned and so national holidays become non-denominational. And this one had previously been a Shinto celebration of one's ancestors. So the Vernal Equinox became a payer for a good harvest and Autumn thanks in turn. Though how this separated Church from State somewhat remains a little bit of a mystery...
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