Children’s Day

Children’s Day is a national holiday which takes place on May 5, and is the final holiday of the Golden Week. This day was originally called Tango no Sekku, or Boy’s Celebration Day, as opposed to Girl’s Day on March 3. However, this holiday’s name was changed in 1948 to Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day, in order to celebrate the happiness of children all around Japan.

Families and some schools raise koinobori, carp-shaped flags, on a pole for this day. Nowadays, there is one carp raised for the father, one for the mother, and one for each child. This was not always the case, as originally, carps were only raised for the parents and the sons. Most families now raise carps for both sons and daughters.

Families also display a Kintaro doll riding a large carp, as well as a Japanese military helmet called kabuto, because they symbolize strength and vitality.

On this day, it is also customary to eat mochi rice cakes, such as kashiwa-mochi, which are filled with red bean paste called anko, and chimaki, which is a sweet rice paste wrapped in a bamboo leaf.

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