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Japan Diaries: Children’s Day (Golden Week)

Today we celebrate and honour the birth of children. And the last official day of Golden Week.

Fun Facts: Kodomo no hi, or “Children’s Day,” is celebrated every year on May 5. On this national holiday, children are respected and honoured for their individual strengths and happiness is wished upon them. Children’s Day was originally known as Tango no Sekku  (literally nearing the seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, but usually translated as Boys Day)and was a celebration for boys.

The holiday was officially changed to celebrate the health and growth of both girls and boys in 1948.  Kodomo no hi is particularly well known for the unique traditions and decorations that are associated with the celebration of the holiday. Source, Japan Society

Things to do:

  • Fly koinobori banners in the shape of a carp, families usually do this for each of their children.
  • Eat lots of desserts such as Mochi wrapped in oak leaves
  • Spend the day making things, some fun craft ideas, here.

In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigour, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Samurai warrior figurines and samurai kabuto helmets are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery. Source, Asia SocietyThere’s also a song to celebrate them,

Koinobori Song

Yane yori takai koinobori
Ookii magoi wa otousan
Chiisai higoi wa kodomotachi
Omoshirosouni oyoideru

The koinobori are higher than the rooftops
The big black carp is the father
The small golden-red carp is the child
How pleasing it is to swim!

Is children’s day celebrated in your part of the world?

*Image source: Asia Gardens


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