no Hi - Children's Day
used to be known as Tango no Sekku
and was celebrated as Boys Day. In 1948 the Japanese government
changed its meaning to include both boys and girls, in order to
celebrate their happiness and give thanks to mothers. Kodomo
no Hi is a national holiday which takes place annually on
May 5, and is part of the Golden Week.
Even though it's recognized
as Children's Day, Japanese families with boys will fly
carp-shaped kites or streamers (koinobori
outside the house and display dolls of famous warriors and other
heroes inside. The carp symbolizes courage, strength and success
and according to legend, a carp can swim upstream and become a
dragon. Koinobori are flown in a family's hope that their son(s)
will grow to be brave and strong and overcome life's obstacles.
The kites are usually flown in sets of at least three: a large
black one represents the father. A red one represents the
first-born son. Green and blue ones honor the other sons of the
Special rice cakes called kashiwamochi
are often made; they are filled with sweet bean past and
wrapped in oak leaves.
With thanks to
Japan National Tourism Organization; Lonely Planet Japan