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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Children's Day

Today is Children’s Day, also known as Kodomo No Hi. This national holiday is celebrated in Japan and by many Japanese Americans stateside. Children’s Day celebrates the happiness of all children and gratitude towards mothers. In my family we've always referred to May 5th as Boy’s Day.

On Boy’s Day, families traditionally hang carp flags, or koinobori, outside of their homes. The bigger fish represents the father and the second fish represents the older son. The younger sons and/or other children also get a carp flag to hang below their siblings.

In addition, families display a Kintaro doll usually riding a large carp and a Kabuto, which is a traditional Japanese military helmet. Both of these items represent a strong healthy boy.


Mochi, or rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves, as well as Chimaki, a kind of sweet rice paste wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf, are traditionally served today.

The origami Kabuto hats in the photo above are very popular and easy to make. Here is a short tutorial if you are up to it. It's very basic. You'll be able to make them in 2 minutes and you don't need origami. Really!

Even though Children's Day is targeted more towards boys, the girls are not forgotten and have a day all for themselves. Hinamatsuri, also known as the doll festival, is celebrated on March 3rd and is exclusively for little girls. However, it is not a national holiday that has caused some controversy over the years.

If your are feeling crafty, grab your little boys (or girls) and have them make their own carp kite.

Or you can always help them celebrate by making a festive bento lunch!

-Kacey

PS: Happy Cinco De Mayo!
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37 comments:

resplendentlife said...

Kacey! Thanks so much for posting this. We are going to do something fun to celebrate this holiday. My daughter loves Japanese culture (so do I) and I just found out about dolls' day from a book we got from the library.
I was just thinking, what are we going to do for Cinco de Mayo and this is so much more relevant for us.
Thanks!!!!

Yaya said...

Fun!

Rachel said...

Thank you for posting this. I love learning about other cultures. This is very neat. I will have to remember this next year and do this with the kids.

I am Harriet said...

Hey Francesca.
Where have you been?
I'm challenging you to leave 1000 comments (no, not all on my site silly). Can you do it?

BTW- I really liked this post.
:)

BSNC said...

interesting info.. it sounds like alot of fun

SO said...

Happy Boy's Day! (I can see why there would be controversy. I really can)

And Happy Cinco De Mayo to you as well.

Kathy B! said...

What a great post. When we lived in the Bay Area I loved how accessible aspects of the Asian culture were. I miss sharing that with my children as we shared and discovered things together.

I will shre this post with them. They'll love it :)

And Francesca... step away from Harriet. I know you *can* do it... the question is *should* you?

Bethany said...

Wow, what a neat post- and a fun day! :) Thanks for posting this!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I really like learning new things.

Tammy Howard said...

What a great post! I was familiar with doll day, but less familiar with this custom. Thank you for sharing!!! I was unaware of the controversy, but can certainly understand it... hmmmm...

Thanks for stopping by!

Randi Troxell said...

i love this post... and your kids (im assuming they are yours) are absolutely gorgeous!

angie said...

I absolutely LOVE this post. The ideas are wonderful. I've been wanting to do "cultural" days with my kids, and this is perfect. We can do the craft and bento boxes in the future and talk about the special days for kids.

This is my first time stopping by and I'm super impressed.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

love this - thank so much for letting us all know!! Love the fish/bread thingy - I'm so stealing that one!

Banteringblonde said...

Happy Cinco De mayo ... and thanks for sharing - my step mother is japanese and my husband is obsessed with Japanese culture - but I did not know about this!

TrueLoveIsaMama said...

There must be something about this week that calls for celebration: Kids Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mothers Day, & Teacher Appreciation Week, sheesh!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Happy Children's Day! Thanks for posting and sharing the links. I think a project is in order for the afternoon...

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

Happy Children's Day!! I love the cute little kid-friendly bento box!

Boy Mom said...

Love this post!

The Blonde Duck said...

How neat!

Always a Southern Girl said...

Love the kites!! I would love to learn how to make one with my step son.

Felicia - I complete Me said...

Never new about children's day. This seems like an awesome holiday.

Sapphire said...

Went to the Japanese Consulate today and had a great time learning! Thanks a bunch!

B said...

I love that first picture of all the wind socks. Makes me want to go out and buy a whole shwack of them.

Fiauna said...

Thanks for posting this. We love Japanese culture, but had no idea about this holiday. What a fun idea.

Alicia said...

When I was younger I would always go with my mom to the Japanese Festivals in San Jose. Loved it!!!

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

Oh my gosh, that is so fun!!!!!! What fabulous culture abounds at your house, I love it!!!!!! I want that kid's lunch for ME!! ahaha! :)

Kelly Deneen said...

This is awesome! I learn so much from all of the fabulous blogges on my blogroll! :)

wenbren explains it all said...

Thanks for all the info I always think of today as cinco de Mayo! Great post!

Julie said...

Very interesting...I love the bento!

Lara said...

Those bento lunches always amaze me. I would love to have the time to do something like that. Meanwhile, I guess I'll just have to admire from afar.

It's All Good said...

That is like the coolest sandwich ever! I must have it....

Thanks alot for your compliments, I do appreciate it! If you click on the calendar on my blog, it takes you to the website that tells you more about the project and the artist behind it, I thought it was just brilliant!

the ungourmet said...

I love the little fishy lunch! How fun is that!

shari@apsychmommy said...

Happy belated Children's Day! We celebrate it in our family (I'm Japanese American and my family is from Hawaii where it's a big deal over there) :)

Sarah said...

Fun!

Alison said...

I'm teaching in Okinawa for the year and got to experience Golden Week first hand - our school had Kite day and I loved it! Need to get pictures posted still :)

SE'LAH... said...

Love. Love. Love the kites.

Happy Cinco de Mayo (belated)

Momma Snail said...

We are learning about Japan now in our homeschool.This is a wonderful post! Thanks for the inspiration!