Holidays, Japanese Culture

Children’s day

Children’s day

What is "Children's Day"?

Children’s Day, known as Kodomo no hi, is a Japanese Holiday celebrated in Japan on May 5th. It is a day to celebrate the well being and growth of children. Formerly, this holiday was known to celebrate boys specifically, with girls day being celebrated on March 3rd. 🎏

This holiday is not only a day to celebrate the fortune and well-being of children, but also a day for paying gratitude toward mothers for raising the children. Originally, this holiday was a day to celebrate boys specifically, but after being founded as an official holiday in 1948, it gradually became a holiday to celebrate both boys and girls. It is celebrated to this day and is also a part of Golden week, which is a collection of holidays that spans the last week of April.

How is it celebrated?

There are different ways that Children’s day is celebrated in Japan, especially depending on which region of Japan you are from. However, some common ways that people express their respect for the holiday are listed below. 🙏🏻

  • Koi Nobori – A tradition of Japanese Culture since the Edo period. Streamers in the shape of Carp fish are flown on Children’s day. They symbolize a sign of growth as they fight against winds and waters to climb further heights.
  • Kabuto – Although it may seem as if decorating your house with a Kabuto Helmet (pictured below) would be comparable to sending your children off to war, this is not the case. The meaning behind this decoration symbolizes the protection of your children’s health and safety.
  • Kashiwa Mochi – Kashiwa Mochi is a dessert wrapped in Kashiwa (oak) leaves. Some areas of Japan eat these desserts as a tradition for Children’s day. In the past, Kashiwa trees were thought to be trees in which gods dwell because of its special nature of only letting leaves fall when new leaves grow in place of them.

Experiences

This time, we asked some of our Japanese employees on their views of Children’s day. Each of our employees seemed to have different perspectives on the holiday due to their different ways of being brought up.

Employee #1: DJ osushi

“My experience of children’s day was all in the US. I was born and raised by my Japanese parents in Seattle and I experienced children’s day as a Japanese American. I used to go to Japanese school on Saturdays, and that was the extent of my exposure to the holiday. I remember making KoiNobori and Kabuto out of newspaper for a project, and we would also put up small KoiNobori poles in our house every year when the holiday came around.

Every so often we would visit our relatives over in Japan, and I remember that Japan takes this holiday much more seriously than I’d expect them to.. Whole communities would be flying KoiNobori throughout town, and there were festivals taking place here and there. You could say it looked comparable to Seattle when the Seahawks won the Superbowl, and everybody was flying Seahawks flags.” 😎

Employee #2: Yuriyuri

“In my case, I grew up in Japan, specifically in the Kansai region. I personally did not have a very strong image of Children’s day. But as you mentioned regarding the differences in regions, my area had Chimaki instead of Kashiwa Mochi. I heard this was because there were no kashiwa trees in kansai back then… Kansai school lunches were always chimaki, I never had kashiwa before. I did see lots of people flying KoiNobori every year though!” 😀

Closing:

This holiday isn’t celebrated over here in the United States, but if you ever come across a KoiNobori, you’ll know what they’re up to! Tensushi will be doing a BOGO deal on California rolls which is popular among boys, so hit us up if you have children that want sushi for half the price!  🤘🏻

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