Nicole Sato, GVJCI Program Coordinator
If you said Cinco De Mayo, okay, okay, you're not wrong, but we wanted Kodomo No Hi! as the answer.
That's right. Every May 5th is Kodomo No Hi in Japan! What's Kodomo No Hi? It directly translates to: Kodomo (子供): Child(ren) No(の): 's Hi(日): Day. Yup, it's a day to celebrate children's health and happiness as well as thanking and celebrating mothers 🤰
Maybe you're like, "Wait. I thought today was Boy's Day???" Well, you're right and wrong. Boy's Day or Tango (that's with a short A not the long A like the smooth South American dance you all like 💃) No Sekku (丹後の節句) was officially changed into a Japanese holiday since 1948, when it became Children's Day. Boys are still celebrated though, as the means of celebrating (the koinobori, kabuto, etc) is still in tradition. Read on to find out!
Feel like celebrating yet? Good! We'll talk about some things to get your Kodomo No Hi celebrations on the road!
If you've ever been to Japan this time around, you might have seen these huuuuuuuge fish kite looking things flying around town. These are "koinobori" which yes, is koi, or carp! Carps are known and often depicted as going upstream through a river or waterfall (and one of the few fish that can) and according to Chinese legends (where the tradition of Kodomo No Hi actually originated from), once the carp reaches the top of the waterfall, they become dragons 🐉! Koinoboris are now used to symbolize both family (if you look closely, they range in size from Dad, Mom, and Child) and hopes that a child will grow up to face the currents of life.
"But I don't have a koinobori!" you say. Well, we don't blame you. Those things are huge and expensive. But some local supermarkets do carry smaller ones that are desk size! You can also make your own! We've got just the DIY craft you can do!
While you're in a craft mood, try making a kabuto hat out of newspapers to wear around!
Kashiwa Mochi VS Chimaki
Ah, now onto the food!
If you're born and raised here, you're probably more familiar with the one on the left. That's the common Kashiwamochi, eaten on Kodomo No Hi.
Kashiwa leaves are oak leaves! And oak leaves are known to not fall off until the new ones can sprout. People have put in the meaning of "until the child grows up, the parents will not pass" in hopes of their children growing up healthy.
Chimaki sushi, on the right, are commonly eaten in the Kansai region and is a mochi often wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.
Pick some up at your local Japanese supermarket and start chewing away!