Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō kansha no hi) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23. The law establishing the holiday cites it as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks.
It is not unusual for early grade elementary students to create drawings for the holiday and give them as gifts to local kōbans, or police stations. Labor Thanksgiving Day is the modern name for an ancient cereal (rice, barley/wheat, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, proso millet, and beans) harvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭), believed to have been held as long ago as November of 678. Traditionally, it celebrated the year’s hard work; during the Niiname-sai ceremony, the Emperor would dedicate the year’s harvest to kami (spirits), and taste the rice for the first time.
The modern holiday was established after World War II in 1948 as a day to mark some of the changes of the postwar constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of workers rights. Currently Niiname-sai is held privately by the Imperial House of Japan while Labor Thanksgiving Day has become a national holiday.