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Kodomo no Hi - Children's Day

         Kodomo no Hi 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 family.

        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

Last updated 1/2014 © 1998 - 2014 G. Thompson/PuffinStuff, Inc.