Today, May 5th, is Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi) in Japan, a national holiday which takes place every year on the 5th Day of the 5th Month to celebrate children and their happiness.
This day was previously known as Boy’s Day (Tango no sekku), and was celebrated for over 700 years, but it is unknown when or why the tradition began. However it was in 1948 when the Japanese government renamed the day Kodomo no Hi and decreed the day a national holiday to celebrate all children and express gratitude to mothers.
It is on Children’s Day that Japanese families raise carp streamers known as “koinobori“, with each individual streamer raised to represent every member of the family.
The largest carp streamer (usually at the top and black in color) represents the father, followed by a smaller red (or pink) carp streamer (to represent the mother), with each subsequent (and smaller) carp streamer representing each child and varying in color.
We are hosting a presentation about Children’s Day at a local elementary school later this month, and celebrating Asian-Pacific Heritage Month by teaching the pre-K children how to fold simple origami, and how to play Rock-Paper-Scissors in Japanese (“Janken Pon“). Each child at the event will be presented with a carp streamer and a scroll with their name written in Japanese. We are VERY excited and look forward to teaching the children something different!
Happy Children’s Day!